F1 Silverstone FP1&2 Results and Full Report: Red Bull Again Tops the Timesheets in Friday Practices


What Happens When the New Meets the Old

10:37am — Red Bull was fastest during both Friday practice sessions, though Mark Webber neatly eclipsed teammate Sebastian Vettel in the second session with the German’s old chassis.  Thought Lewis Hamilton was second quickest in the first session, the changing surfaces seemed to catch him (and many others) out, as he dropped to eighth fastest in the second session.  McLaren did not fare so well this Friday practice, though, as always, the use of the sessions as tests make it difficult to note just what will happen in qualifying and the race.  The Ferraris were off the pace in FP1, but rallied in the second, moving up to the top five.  Meanwhile the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher appeared just on the cusp of a racier set-up.

FP1:
Sebastian Vettel was the man fastest at the end of the first Friday practice session at the new Silverstone layout, with a 1:32.280, ahead of Lewis Hamilton who was second fastest.  The Briton might have beaten the German, but for issues with the bump connecting the new layout to the old at the Abbey corner.  Many drivers had problems there, and at the Village loop, which was slippery. Robert Kubica, Mark Webber (in Vettel’s old chassis, apparently the only extra one the team has), and Adrian Sutil were the fastest five in the first session, which could mean anything or everything in the test sessions Friday practices have become.  In the teammate battles, Jenson Button ended the session eighth fastest, Vitaly Petrov twelfth, and Paul di Resta fourteenth.  Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were thirteenth and seventeenth for Ferrari, respectively, while Nico Rosberg was was again faster than teammate Michael Schumacher, the Germans sixth and ninth.

There were some line-up changes, with Fairuz Fauzy in for Jarno Trulli at Lotus just for the early session (though he had engine failure and remained in the garage for the first hour of the session), Paul di Resta in, also just for the session, for Tonio Liuzzi, and Sakon Yamamoto in, possibly permanently despite the team’s insistence that Senna will be back for the German Grand Prix, for Bruno Senna at HRT.

Final Times for FP1:

Driver Time Gap Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel 1:32.280 22
2. Lewis Hamilton 1:32.614 +.334 16
3. Robert Kubica 1:32.725 +.445 21
4. Mark Webber 1:32.747 +.467 23
5. Adrian Sutil 1:32.968 +.688 18
6. Nico Rosberg 1:33.318 +1.038 21
7. Nico Hulkenberg 1:33.377 +1.097 19
8. Jenson Button 1:33.519 +1.239 20
9. Michael Schumacher 1:33.955 +1.675 18
10. Rubens Barrichello 1:34.016 +1.736 17
11. Sebastien Buemi 1:34.132 +1.852 21
12. Vitaly Petrov 1:34.365 +2.085 22
13. Fernando Alonso 1:34.490 +2.210 20
14. Paul di Resta 1:34.580 +2.300 22
15. Kamui Kobayashi 1:34.710 +2.230 16
16. Pedro de la Rosa 1:34.901 +2.621 17
17. Felipe Massa 1:35.037 +2.757 21
18. Jaime Alguersuari 1:35.318 +3.038 27
19. Heikki Kovalainen 1:36.747 +4.467 16
20. Timio Glock 1:37.330 +5.050 11
21. Lucas di Grassi 1:37.518 +5.238 15
22. Karuni Chandhok 1:38.735 +6.455 21
23. Fariuz Fauzy 1:39.510 +7.230 11
24. Sakon Yamamoto 1:39.673 +7.393 27

FP2:

Virgin Racing was the first out for the second Friday practices session in the sunshine at Silverstone, with half the field following Lucas di Grassi.  Fifteen minutes into the session and it was Alonso and Massa with the fastest times, with only six cars on the circuit.  Webber, Vettel, Kobayashi, Rosberg, and Hulkenberg had yet to set a time.  Webber soon supplanted Alonso with a faster time, as did Rosberg, though only Webber had a time faster than Vettel’s in the first session.  Vettel himself had a hairy moment a half hour into the session, heading a bit too quickly into Stowe, sliding sideways and across into the grass, catching a small bit of access road to head back onto the track without damage.

With one hour left, the fastest ten were Webber, Vettel, Rosberg, Alonso, Massa, Barrichello, Kubica, Button, Schumacher, and Hamilton, with 1.3s separating Webber from Hamilton.  Kobayashi still had yet to set a time, despite three laps of the circuit.  Just ten minutes later and the top ten had moved around a bit, with Webber, Alonso, Vettel, Petrov, and Hamilton the top five.  A half hour later and not much had changed.  Vettel had eclipsed Alonso to take the second fastest position, but from Friday practice, it is difficult to know who is running what fuel loads and who had made what changes or trying out what new, fanciful updates many of the teams have brought to Silverstone.  Soon, Massa had also moved up, joining the top five in fourth.  Webber led Alonso, Vettel, Massa, and Rosberg as the fastest five with twenty-five minutes left in the session.

Alonso and Vettel kept switching position for the final twenty minutes or so, which boded well for the Ferrari after a disappointing first session.  The top five were all faster than Vettel’s fastest time of the first session, and Webber, Alonso, and Vettel were all in the 1:31s range.  Most of the field was on-circuit for the final ten minutes, though the McLarens seemed to have slowed from, at least Hamilton’s, pace in the first session, the two Britons eighth and thirteenth.  At just over five minutes left, it was day over (or just begun) for Lotus, as Trulli hadn’t left the garage and Kovalainen had just parked his Cosworth-powered car, claiming power-steering issues over the radio.  Hamilton was also having issues with off-track excursions and was back in the garage.  Three minutes to go in the session and three cars were in the garage: Webber, Hamilton, and Trulli.  Petrov had his own excursion at the same place as Hamilton, on part of the old track.  Webber, though leading, had only posted fifteen laps, but, according to the team, “Mark’s problem? An electrical fault. But we’re on it…”  Still, Webber ended the session nearly four tenths faster than Alonso and six tenths faster than his own teammate, who ran ten more laps.

Final Times for FP2:

Driver Time Gap Laps
1. Mark Webber 1:31.234 15
2. Fernando Alonso 1:31.626 +.392 26
3. Sebastian Vettel 1:31.875 +.641 25
4. Felipe Massa 1:32.099 +.865 25
5. Nico Rosberg 1:32.166 +.932 29
6. Michael Schumacher 1:32.660 +1.426 28
7. Vitaly Petrov 1:32.745 +1.511 29
8. Lewis Hamilton 1:32.757 +1.523 22
9. Adrian Sutil 1:32.787 +1.553 27
10. Rubens Barrichello 1:32.967 +1.733 33
11. Robert Kubica 1:33.019 +1.785 30
12. Nico Hulkenberg 1:33.164 +1.930 29
13. Jenson Button 1:33.200 +1.966 24
14. Kamui Kobayashi 1:33.402 +2.168 23
15. Tonio Liuzzi 1:33.728 +2.494 27
16. Sebastien Buemi 1:33.836 +2.602 36
17. Pedro de la Rosa 1:34.051 +2.817 29
18. Jaime Alguersuari 1:34.643 +3.409 36
19. Heikki Kovalainen 1:35.465 +4.231 25
20. Lucas di Grassi 1:36.237 +5.003 24
21. Timo Glock 1:36.553 +5.319 21
22. Karun Chandhok 1:37.019 +5.785 27
23. Sakon Yamamoto 1:38.303 +7.069 32
24. Jarno Trulli 1:42.901 +11.667 3
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