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British Grand Prix: Friday Team and Driver Reports

British Grand Prix: Friday Team and Driver Reports

British Grand Prix: Friday Team and Driver Reports

Formula 1 drivers and teams report from day one of the 2024 British Grand Prix weekend from Silverstone, Free Practice 1 and 2 were held on the day.

Lando Norris topped the first day of practice for the British Grand Prix, and while Max Verstappen did not register any headline grabbing times, but his actual pace was close to his new rival in the McLaren.

Mercedes and Ferrari did not impress, as the fight seems to be once again between McLaren and Red Bull, Verstappen and Norris that is, while it would be worth it to keep an eye on Oscar Piastri, while Sergio Perez was somehow in the mix at the top.

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McLaren: It’s been a solid day

Lando Norris: “It’s been a solid day. We’ve done a good amount of running and some nice laps, so I feel reasonably comfortable. We’ve made some changes over the morning which helped me get into a good rhythm, which is super important around such a high-speed track like this.

“I think we’ve got a few more to tweaks to make, but it’s difficult with the challenges of wind and rain. It’s been a clean two sessions, and that’s a good start to the weekend, so I’m happy with that.”

Oscar Piastri: “That’s Friday done. It’s been a decent day for the team, especially in FP2. We’ve got a few things to sort out overnight to make it a bit better on my side, but I think it’s been a solid first day at Silverstone.

“Going into tomorrow, I think we’re in a reasonable position, however we’re probably going to get very wet which can change things. I’m looking forward to getting back on track.”

Andrea Stella: “Today at Silverstone we had two productive sessions. There was an ever-present risk of rain, but it only materialised towards the end of the second session, which gave us enough time to go through our run plan and set-up work. In general, we got encouraging information – but conditions were very particular today, so we’re not looking too much at the lap times themselves. We’re now just focussing on tomorrow, when we need to be ready for whatever the weather brings.”

Red Bull Racing: A bit of work to do

Max Verstappen: “A bit of work to do coming out of the first two practice sessions here in Silverstone. On the soft tyre it didn’t go so well in FP2 and the medium tyre looked better. We also had a little slide in FP2 heading into Chapel so I ended up aborting the lap there. We tried a few things on the car between FP1 and FP2, so we’ll have to analyse everything and what we can do better ahead of Qualifying. Naturally I think the weather will impact things tomorrow with some rain to be expected and the whole grid will have to take that in to account with strategy.”

Sergio Perez: “It was a solid session, considering I wasn’t in the car this morning for FP1. The car is feeling good, but I think we need to find some balance, especially in the low and medium speed, the car feels really nice in the high speed. When you miss a session, it immediately feels like a busier afternoon, straight away you go into performance and high fuel and need to feed a lot back to engineering, but Isack had done a great job doing that for the Team this morning. I think the car has good potential for this weekend, the conditions are going to be varied and we are going to have to be on it with the decisions we make.”

Isack Hadjar: “It was unbelievable to drive in FP1 today. It honestly felt like the first time in the car again and the braking and the high speed in the RB20 are just on another level. My last FP1 was in Abu Dhabi and it was quite limited mileage, so it was unbelievable to drive around this iconic and fast track here at Silverstone. The conditions were pretty good and fully dry, we expected some wet spots but the grip was actually very good which was surprising. It’s been a while since I’ve been in this car, but it is always great to be back with the Team and to know the procedures.”

Mercedes: We’ve got some work planned overnight

Lewis Hamilton: “The car felt generally good today. We’re still a little bit behind the ultimate pace at the front but today was encouraging. I don’t think the times are fully representative of where our speed was, but nevertheless, we know we’ve got work to do tonight. We will therefore do what we can to try and find more performance and hopefully that can get us a little closer to those ahead.

“It is always great to be here at Silverstone. The size of the crowd seems to grow every year and it was awesome to see all their support. Hopefully we can give them something to cheer about over the rest of the weekend.”

George Russell: “FP1 was a strong session with the car feeling great. FP2 was a slightly more challenging hour, and we need to pick through why that was. It was much windier, and I don’t think we got the tyres in the right window, so that could explain a chunk of it. The conditions are likely to change across the weekend, with more rain possible too, so we will have to be adaptive. I hope the fans didn’t get too wet this afternoon; as always, it was fantastic to see their support in the grandstands.

“After today’s running, I’d say that the competitive picture looks similar to the past few races. McLaren and Max (Verstappen) look a step ahead and it’s close between ourselves and Ferrari. We will work hard overnight to try and take a step forward and see where that leaves us tomorrow.”

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director: “We got off to a decent start with both cars in FP1. The balance around the lap was reasonably good and both drivers were relatively happy. With the first session being interrupted by a red flag, we didn’t manage as much long run work as we hoped for, but it seemed that we had the car in a decent place.

“For FP2, the wind picked up a little and overall, the car was a bit less stable. It’s good to highlight these issues today though whilst we can still work on the setup. We’ve got some work planned overnight to try and understand the balance issues a bit further. We are optimistic that we can make progress and with that, we should find a bit more pace for the rest of the weekend.”

Ferrari: Data and Comparison

Charles Leclerc: “We got a lot of testing done today and will analyse all the data we gathered to draw some comparisons and take steps forward as a team.

“For now, we are not fully satisfied and will be working flat out to solve any issues quickly in order to have a good qualifying tomorrow.”

Carlos Sainz: “An interesting Friday for us as the aim today was to gather useful data to give us a complete picture about our car. Objective achieved, and now we need to analyze everything in order to be ready for tomorrow.

“We need to make some decisions, but I think we can position ourselves in a decent spot this weekend.”

VCARB: A challenging day for us

Yuki Tsunoda: “I didn’t have the ideal start to the race weekend with FP1 and lost some valuable track time, but we managed to collect plenty of data in FP2. I think we know where we’re at now. We didn’t expect to struggle as much as we did in FP2, but there’s more time to come from us and I’m sure we can find a couple more tenths for tomorrow and fight for Q3. It doesn’t seem our car quite suits these track characteristics with the long high-speed corners, but others just seem to be stepping it up. They’re doing a good job, so we’ll continue working and fighting for more.”

Daniel Ricciardo: “It was a tricky day. We found some answers for that trickiness in FP2 due to a few issues on the car in terms of load. It was a bit of a bummer because obviously you still try to do what you can, but it was a bit inconclusive on what our true pace is. In general, we’ll be trying to work on a few weaknesses we’ve seen and getting it better for tomorrow. We’ll try to find the course once we look at the data, but I’m confident it’s nothing too weird. It’s going to be a tough circuit this year, but we should be able to clean that up and be further up the grid than we were today.”

Alan Permane (Racing Director): “A challenging day for us, starting with Yuki’s spin, which cost him almost all of the first session. This meant he wasn’t as prepared as he could have been for FP2 and didn’t get the most out of things. He’s generally happy with the car though. Daniel struggled with some instability at the rear and it’s clear we’ve got work to do overnight to find some low-speed performance which is costing lap time. We will have one eye on the weather as rain is forecast for both days over the weekend and we will take this into account with our setup choices. We need to get everything perfect to give our drivers a shot at Q3 tomorrow.”

Alpine: Good learnings for tomorrow

Esteban Ocon: “The car felt good this morning straight out of the box, with good performance and good balance. But we went a bit backwards in the afternoon and went slightly in the wrong direction in terms of parts and set-up, so we will probably revert back to what we had in FP1 in the morning session. We cycled through a few parts to try and understand and analyse a few things across both cars, and it has given us some good learnings for tomorrow. It was great to see so many fans trackside and in the grandstands on a Friday, which is always the case here at Silverstone! We will put our heads down and work hard to make some changes overnight and give it our all in Qualifying tomorrow.”

Pierre Gasly: “Jack ran the car in FP1 today and once again did a great job working with the team and getting useful data, although he did not get as much running in as expected due to a red flag. I will have to take a grid penalty on Sunday for a change of Power Unit and battery. For FP2, I was mainly then trying to get a first feeling of the car at this track. And I have to say I am not satisfied so far with how the car felt, although of course we only got minimal running in. As I will start from last position on Sunday, the focus for the rest of the weekend will be to get the car set-up and balance in the right window for the race so we can attack. There is lots of work for us to do overnight and the rest of the weekend, but I hope for Sunday we can be in a position again to move up the field and possibly fight for some points.”

Jack Doohan: “Happy to get out on track today and have some more extensive running after the last outing was hindered by rain in Canada. When I was coming to track in the morning and saw it was raining, I wondered whether the same would happen again here, but thankfully it cleared up and the rain stayed at bay! The track conditions were slightly strange with the surface being a bit greasy. We ended up completing most of our run plan and tried some things across both cars, so hopefully it helped build a solid foundation for the rest of the weekend. It was good to get the dry running in and get that feedback and feeling inside the car, which can also translate to the work I do in the sim for the rest of the season.”

Haas: We were happy with what we saw

Oliver Bearman: “It was a good session back in the car, especially at my home race, plus it’s one of my favorite tracks. There are lots of positives to take from today and we got the new package on our car so we got to check it out and get a first read on it for the guys. I’m glad the session went well, and I wish the team the best of luck for this weekend.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “It was a good Friday. In the morning we ran the previous spec car and during the break, the team put the update on ahead of FP2. There are certainly some differences, it felt positive from the get-go, but there’s obviously still more to look at and optimize around it, but the first impression is positive and that’s important and valuable. It may well be a challenging weekend with the weather, rain will probably happen and we need to be prepared for it. I like this track in the dry a lot, it’s fascinating the speeds we run around here, but I’ll take it as it comes.”

Kevin Magnussen: “I sat out FP1 so I was just getting into the rhythm, and with the weather at the end I didn’t manage to get a long run so not too many laps at all today, but hopefully we can get some more tomorrow. I got to try the car in the wet when we were going around the track to do the start. There wasn’t too much gain from this session, but there’s another tomorrow. I wouldn’t mind rain, although Nico looked pretty quick in the dry as well, so we’ll take it as it comes.”

Ayao Komatsu, Team Principal: “Ollie was back in the car again for FP1 and he did a very good job as he has done before. It’s really good to have Ollie confirmed and give him the chance to drive in front of his home crowd, that was amazing. Nico drove the previous package in FP1 and we gave him the update for FP2, and he felt the difference immediately. There are certain things that we still need to work on but for a baseline run, we were happy with what we saw. On Kevin’s side, the story isn’t the same as he felt a difference in car behavior this weekend compared to Spielberg, but he wasn’t happy with the car. We’ve got lots of work to do to find out why Kevin isn’t happy while Nico is. Overall, it’s been a largely successful day; we got the data and we’ve now got driver feedback, but the unsuccessful part is that Kevin isn’t happy with the car and that’s something we will work on tonight.”

Aston Martin: Difficult to read too much into the practice times

In front of our passionate home fans, Lance and Fernando classified P2 and P6 in Free Practice One. Later in the day, in Free Practice Two, they placed P9 and P11.

Both Lance and Fernando gathered data across different tyre types throughout the practice sessions. Towards the end of FP1, Lance and Fernando switched to Soft tyres. After a strong lap on the Softs, Lance finished FP1 in P2. Fernando also had a promising result, classifying P6.

In FP2, the threat of rain resulted in Lance and Fernando completing running on the Soft compounds early in the session.

Fernando Alonso: “It’s difficult to read too much into the practice times today with the mixed conditions. The wet weather conditions have been a bit more friendly to us this season, so let’s see what happens tomorrow.”

Lance Stroll: “We looked a bit more competitive today, but we know tomorrow and Sunday is when it counts. After Spain and Austria, we changed a few things on the car, so today was spent gathering a lot of data and getting the laps in. There’s some homework to do tonight ahead of Qualifying, but the aim will be Q3.”

Williams: A steady start to proceedings

The British Grand Prix weekend is underway and Williams Racing have had a steady start to proceedings. All eyes were on Franco Colapinto as he made his FP1 bow, taking to the track alongside Alex Albon.

Both of our drivers were on similar run plans, completing laps on the hard and later the soft compound of tyres.

Franco would notch up 24 laps finishing in P18, with Alex adding a further 25 in FP1 and recording a time good enough for P16.

Franco Colapinto: “My first FP1 done! I enjoyed every lap, every corner of it, and I did the best I could,” Franco commented.

“It was an amazing experience. There was much more on the table, and I couldn’t maximise some corners, which I was getting better at on the long runs, but of course, it’s difficult on old tyres.

“I’m delighted that Williams has given me this opportunity, the support that I’ve received from the team has been on another level.

“I’m super proud of what we’ve achieved, but now I need to keep working so I can get back here one day.”

For FP2, Logan Sargeant returned to his FW46 for a session where a threat of rain loomed large on the horizon. Our American racer completed 24 laps as he got reacquainted with the venue that has seen him enjoy success throughout his career, ending the day in P17.

Alex added another 26 laps to his morning total, with his best time of 1:27.645 placing him P13 before the rain rolled in.

Alex Albon: “A mixed day overall. Long runs are looking promising, and the car feels good to drive relative to last year.

“As a Qualifying car, there’s some work to do. We experimented quite a lot with set-up and tyres between the two sessions, and we haven’t quite got the right balance yet.

“We’ll look at the data tonight and come back stronger. With a bit of British weather and some fine-tuning, I think we’re in with a chance of Q3 tomorrow.”

Logan Sargeant: “My first time missing FP1, so I knew I was going to have to make the step up quickly in FP2 and I feel like we did that.

“I came out the gate strong on low fuel which was positive. I feel like we were immediately in a good place with some clear little bits to work on.

“High fuel is a bit of a different story as there’s definitely work to do from my side. Hopefully, we can have a better weekend, but we’ll have to wait and see when everyone goes for it tomorrow. Overall, today’s been a pretty strong start.”

Sven Smeets, Sporting Director: “Overall, it has been a positive day today. Earlier this afternoon, we had Franco doing his first FP1 for us and he did a solid job, improving his lap times every time he left the garage.
“He then qualified 4th in F2 Qualifying an hour later so he can look back on a good day.

“Alex changed the set-up of the car quite significantly between FP1 and FP2 and this had a positive effect on the performance of the car, especially on the long runs.

“They seemed competitive this afternoon, but we still have some issues with the balance of the car on low fuel, so we need to improve that overnight ahead of FP3.

“Logan got up to speed quickly after missing FP1 and is reasonably happy with the car on low fuel but was missing some performance in the race run.

“We will be working hard tonight to find some extra performance for tomorrow. The weather forecast is changing nearly every hour so there is everything to play for in Qualifying.”

Stake F1 Team KICK Sauber: A solid first day of practice

Stake F1 Team KICK Sauber had a solid first day of practice at the historical Silverstone Circuit. As on-track proceedings for the British Grand Prix got underway, Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu took their C44s through two busy sessions, just avoiding some last-minute rain that did not result in any missed action.

With positive first indications from the track, the team will now crunch all data overnight as we aim to extract every little bit of potential ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying session.

Valtteri Bottas: “Based on what we saw today, we seem to be in a better place compared to the previous weeks, but in the end it’s the next two days that really matter. The feeling with the car was better and we didn’t have any issues troubling the balance: we made some improvements on last weekend; the car is more balanced in the high-speed corners, and we took small steps forward to make the stability better. We tried different things with the two cars, so we have plenty of data, and of course we will still need to find something overnight, as everyone will – it’s the name of the game. We’re one tenth away from the top ten, though, and this gives us a lot of motivation to keep pushing.”

Zhou Guanyu: “It’s good to be back in Silverstone, a truly enjoyable and fun track to drive. Today’s sessions focused on gathering data and information, and while there’s still work to do to refine the car’s baseline and balance, everything already feels better than last weekend out in Spielberg. The team continues working on the car to set us up for tomorrow’s qualifying session, where we could have opportunities for a good result.”