Vettel tests Shield as Bottas leads Silverstone Free Practice

Vettel tests Shield as Bottas leads Silverstone Free Practice



Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas maintained his grip on the top of the timesheets at Silverstone but he was pushed hard by team-mate Lewis Hamilton who finished under five hundredths of a second adrift of the Finn.

Bottas had topped the opening session by just seven hundredths of a second but his time of 1:29.106 was eclipsed early in the session as Hamilton quickly dipped into the 1m28s bracket on soft tyres. He then improved to time of 1:28.543 to sit six tenths ahead of the rest of the field.

Half an hour into the session Bottas bolted on supersoft tyres and once again rose to the top of the timesheet with a time of 1m28.496s.

Hamilton then also moved to the supersofts but an off-track excursion scuppered his chance of beating Bottas and the Finn’s time stood until the end of the session.

After a muted morning session for Ferrari in which its drivers finished fifth and sixth, the Italian squad bounced back in the afternoon with Kimi Raikkonen third-quickest. The Finn finished the session 0.332 behind Bottas but his progress wasn’t entirely smooth and late in the session he spun off into the gravel at Becketts. He was able to rejoin the circuit, however. Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile finished fourth, just over a tenth behind his team-mate and just under half a second behind Bottas.

Red Bull Racing were best of the rest, with Max Verstappen quickest for the Milton Keynes team. The Dutchman took fifth place, 0.602s off Bottas on supersofts, while teammate Daniel Ricciardo was sixth, nearly half a second down his team-mate on the same tyre. Verstappen was the last man inside a second of a Bottas’ time.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg took seventh place, 0.350s behind Ricciardo, while Felipe Massa was eighth for Williams.

After finishing eighth in the morning session using Honda’s ‘Spec 3’ engine, Fernando Alonso continued McLaren’s good start to the weekend by taking ninth place on the timesheet with a lap two tenths behind Massa. Esteban Ocon took the final top 10 place for Force India.

2017 British Grand Prix – Free Practice 2

1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 31 1:28.496
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 35 1:28.543 0.047
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 36 1:28.828 0.332
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 36 1:28.956 0.460
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 32 1:29.098 0.602
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 35 1:29.586 1.090
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 37 1:29.936 1.440
8 Felipe Massa Williams 36 1:30.006 1.510
9 Fernando Alonso McLaren 28 1:30.238 1.742
10 Esteban Ocon Force India 42 1:30.383 1.887
11 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 26 1:30.555 2.059
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 34 1:30.562 2.066
13 Sergio Perez Force India 43 1:30.624 2.128
14 Romain Grosjean Haas 33 1:30.661 2.165
15 Lance Stroll Williams 37 1:30.695 2.199
16 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 31 1:30.782 2.286
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas 33 1:30.835 2.339
18 Jolyon Palmer Renault 25 1:30.879 2.383
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 27 1:31.616 3.120
20 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 30 1:31.929 3.433


Valtteri Bottas set the quickest time of opening practice for the British Grand Prix, finishing seven hundredths of a second ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel became the first driver to run with the new Shield frontal impact protection system being trialled by the FIA.

The Shield, a transparent open canopy system constructed using polycarbonate and extending down the nose of the car, was fitted to Vettel’s Ferrari ahead of the session. He then completed a single installation lap with the device in place before returning to the garage.

In the practice session proper it was Bottas who set the pace, with the Finn using soft compound tyres to set a time of 1:29.106s, 0.78s ahead of Hamilton. Bottas’ time was more than a tenth quicker than last year’s pole position time.

Ferrari might have been expected to be the closest challenger to Mercedes but the Italian squad had a muted session. Kimi Raikkonen was the quicker of the two Ferrari drivers, though the Finn finished the session in fifth place and a full second adrift of Bottas’ P1 time.

Having had the Shield removed from his car, Vettel also had a low-key session finishing directly behind his team-mate 1.411s off the pace set by Austrian Grand Prix winner Bottas.

It meant that Red Bull Racing finished the session as Mercedes’ closest challenger, with Max Verstappen third on the timesheet with a best lap of 1:29.604, just under half a second behind Bottas. Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was fourth, 0.338s behind the Dutchman.

With the Ferraris in fifth and sixth, seventh place went to Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat. McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, armed with Honda’s more-powerful 'Spec 3' power unit was eighth on supersofts tyres, while the final top 10 positions were taken by Williams’ Felipe Massa (ninth) and the second McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne.

2017 British Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 29 1:29.106
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 29 1:29.184 0.078
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 26 1:29.604 0.498
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 19 1:29.942 0.836
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 19 1:30.137 1.031
6 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 19 1:30.517 1.411
7 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 21 1:30.895 1.789
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren 20 1:30.993 1.887
9 Felipe Massa Williams 26 1:30.999 1.893
10 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 27 1:31.041 1.935
11 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 24 1:31.200 2.094
12 Esteban Ocon Force India 32 1:31.210 2.104
13 Sergio Perez Force India 33 1:31.297 2.191
14 Romain Grosjean Haas 24 1:31.610 2.504
15 Lance Stroll Williams 24 1:31.684 2.578
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Haas 24 1:32.031 2.925
17 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 19 1:32.171 3.065
18 Jolyon Palmer Renault 16 1:32.450 3.344
19 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 23 1:33.029 3.923
20 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 26 1:33.399 4.293

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