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F1 Friday Review Crucial Learnings from British GP 2024

F1 Friday’s Insights: Key Takeaways from British GP

05/07/2024

F1 Friday’s practice sessions at the British Grand Prix revealed telling contrasts in team performances. From tyre strategies to surprising pace, here’s what we learned from the initial laps at Silverstone this weekend.

McLaren F1 is poised for a promising weekend at Silverstone, having topped the time sheets with Lando Norris in both of Friday’s free practice sessions at the British Grand Prix.

“It’s been a solid start to the weekend, though not the smoothest. I wasn’t very comfortable this morning, but as the sessions progressed, we made a few tweaks and I found myself in a much more favourable window, which is crucial here because the circuit is quite tricky and high-speed,” Norris stated.

“It’s challenging, but I’m pleased. I believe we’ve made good progress. We’re quite close. Mercedes seems as fast as us. It’s just that they haven’t turned their engines up and didn’t push as hard in the last run. I think we’re in a strong position, but there’s still a way to go.”

Oscar Piastri finished third and second in the two sessions and acknowledged it’s a positive start: “Certainly, it’s been interesting to see what others are doing. If we can maintain this gap for the rest of the weekend, that would be great.”

“However, I’m not sure that will be the case. I think we’ve had a good session, a good day, the car felt good. There are just a few small things to iron out on my end, but overall, it’s been a decent Friday.”

“Don’t focus too much on the timings”

Team director Andrea Stella urged caution and advised against reading too much into Friday’s times, particularly with the expectation of a resurgence from Max Verstappen: “I think we shouldn’t focus too much on the times from these two sessions, especially the second, as some drivers like Max have used soft tyres and less fuel from the start.”

“We continued with more standard timing, so we made our runs a bit later. There are certainly encouraging signs in both sessions in terms of pace over a single lap and on longer runs.”

Asked about McLaren’s edge at Silverstone, Stella remained cautious as there’s room for improvement: “The drivers aren’t really comfortable yet. We have a few issues, like braking into the third turn, for example.”

“The high-speed sections of Silverstone are indeed high-speed, which has posed some problems, and the car isn’t comfortable to drive, so we have some opportunities to improve. Overall, the car seems competitive. In some ways, I’m a bit surprised by the lap times themselves.”

Williams F1’s Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant experienced contrasting feelings during their initial sessions at Silverstone, yet both drivers remain optimistic about their prospects.

F1 Friday Review Crucial Learnings from British GP 2024

Alex Albon expressed dissatisfaction with his performance, particularly due to a lack of pace on fast laps. The Williams F1 driver is eager to optimise tyre performance for a more solid lap. “I’m less satisfied; we need to focus on qualifying because we’ve experimented a lot with settings and tyres, but we’re fairly solid. The pace is there in the car, we just need to unlock it during the fast laps with the tyres,” Albon remarked.

“Last year, the car felt worse to drive, but we were slightly faster. Everyone has sped up this year, especially in the midfield. But even in FP2, especially on short stints, we had to compromise some turns to improve others, and we didn’t achieve an ideal balance.”

Conversely, Logan Sargeant faced the opposite issue, lacking pace during longer stints: “This is the first time I’ve missed FP1, and I knew I needed to quickly find my rhythm in FP2, which I think I did. I quickly found myself in a good position; there’s work to do, but it’s a good situation.”

“With fuel, the situation changes, there’s still work to be done. I’ll see how to address it, but considering I missed Free Practice 1, it was quite a good session. Yes, we need to take more risks.”

“I felt good. I’ve been feeling good for a while, but I just hope to have a strong weekend. Alex seemed solid; I need to look at his data, but there will be rain on Sunday. I’ll focus mainly on qualifying and then concentrate on the race tomorrow.”

Aston Martin F1 showed signs of improvement during Friday’s practice sessions at Silverstone, with Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso finishing ninth and eleventh respectively.

F1 Friday Review Crucial Learnings from British GP 2024

Lance Stroll clocked the ninth fastest time, expressing hope for a more positive outing at the British Grand Prix compared to previous races, though he remains cautious about maintaining this performance in qualifying and the race. “We seemed a bit more competitive than in past weekends, but it’s Saturday and Sunday that count, so we’ll see,” the Canadian noted, optimistic that recent adjustments could yield benefits. “We’ve tweaked a few things ahead of this weekend; it might be better.”

Positioned eleventh, Fernando Alonso also appeared quicker this Friday at Silverstone, hoping for a result superior to those of recent weekends on the circuit opposite the Aston Martin factory. Yet, the two-time world champion remains wary. “These were just practice sessions; we’ll see tomorrow,” Alonso remarked, not adverse to the idea of some rain. “Probably, usually wet conditions suit us better, like in Canada, but we are prepared for both.”

Mercedes F1 appears to be making strides in the right direction, albeit still trailing McLaren by a significant six-tenths of a second after Friday’s free practice sessions at the British Grand Prix.

F1 Friday Review Crucial Learnings from British GP 2024

Lando Norris led both sessions, establishing McLaren as the team to beat this weekend.

For Mercedes, the pace in the initial free practice was notably strong, particularly as the team opted not to use the soft tyres.

However, during the second free practice, Lewis Hamilton only managed sixth place, while his teammate George Russell finished tenth. More concerning was the gap to Norris, which extended to just over 0.6 seconds.

Reflecting on his day at Silverstone, Hamilton was pleased with how his Mercedes performed. “I felt good overall in the W15, but not as fast as the guys in front, like the McLarens.”

Regarding the updates brought by Mercedes for this weekend, including revised front and rear wings described as “circuit-specific,” Hamilton downplayed their significance. “They’re like minor tweaks, but we are on the right track despite a significant gap to McLaren. We don’t really have big upgrades. Just a few small adjustments, but not necessarily improvements.”

“Every time we add something, we’re moving in the right direction, but others are also bringing enhancements. We were about six and a half tenths off at one point. I’m not sure if it’s exactly six tenths. We have work to do.”

Across the Mercedes garage, Russell feels the team is in a similar position to recent races. “This morning was really good, to be honest. The car behaved well. We struggled a bit more this afternoon, and we need to understand why. There was a bit more wind. We didn’t really get on top of the tyres. The competitiveness is quite similar to what we’ve seen in the last races.”

“The first free practice was really solid. We need to figure out why we lost some pace in FP2. I’m sure everything will change tomorrow with the conditions, it’s raining now. I’m just happy to be here and looking forward to racing.”

At Silverstone, Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez find themselves trailing the McLaren team, which has made a strong start to its home race weekend.

F1 Friday Review Crucial Learnings from British GP 2024

Verstappen, who finished fourth in the first free practice and seventh in the second, acknowledges that Red Bull needs to bridge the gap to McLaren. “With the soft tyres, the runs didn’t go well in FP2; the mediums are a bit better for us. So, we still have some work to do. We tried a few things on the car between FP1 and FP2, so we need to analyse what we can improve for tomorrow.”

“We tried different parts, different setups, and now we need to draw some conclusions from that, which will guide us for tomorrow. Naturally, with the weather, it could be tricky. It looks like there might be some rain, so we’ll all have to take that into account.”

Verstappen noted that the Woking-based team had been very strong today, as well as at last year’s British GP. “I expect it to be very close. We had a very good qualifying in Austria and generally a positive weekend, apart from the race result. But I still think McLaren, like last year, is in great form here.”

For Sergio Perez, who only participated in FP2 after yielding his car to Isack Hadjar in FP1, things went somewhat better. The Mexican clocked the third fastest time, albeit four-tenths behind Lando Norris.

“It was a solid session, considering I wasn’t in the car this morning for FP1. The car handles well, but I think we need to find a better balance, especially at low and medium speeds, as the car performs really well at high speed.”

“Missing a session makes the afternoon feel busier, as we immediately switch to performance and heavy fuel loads, and we need to provide a lot of feedback to the engineers. However, Isack did an excellent job for the team this morning. I think the car has good potential for this weekend, conditions will be varied, and we’ll need to be on point with the decisions we make.”

At Silverstone today, Alpine F1 faced challenges with their car setups during the second free practice session, with Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly clocking in 15th and 14th respectively.

F1 Friday Review Crucial Learnings from British GP 2024

Esteban Ocon, the only regular Alpine F1 driver to participate in both practice sessions, experienced mixed results. He achieved the 10th fastest time in FP1 but fell to 15th in FP2, acknowledging a step in the wrong direction with the afternoon’s adjustments. “Right from the pit exit this morning, the car felt good—performant and well-balanced. We regressed slightly in the afternoon, slightly veering off course with the parts and settings, so we’ll likely revert to our FP1 configuration.”

“We’ve reviewed elements to try to understand and analyze certain aspects of both cars, which has provided us valuable insights for tomorrow.”

“It was fantastic to see so many fans around the circuit and in the stands on Friday, as is always the case here at Silverstone! We’re doubling down on efforts to make changes tomorrow before giving it our all in the qualifying.”

Pierre Gasly, stepping in for FP2 after Jack Doohan took the first session, placed 14th.

“Jack drove my car in FP1 and once again did excellent work with the team to gather useful data today, even though his running was limited due to a red flag. I have a grid penalty due to a power unit and battery change.”

“In FP2, my main goal was to get a first feel of the car on this circuit. I must say I’m not satisfied so far, though we’ve obviously had limited running. As I’ll be starting from the back on Sunday, the focus for the rest of the weekend will be on finding the right settings and balance to be competitive in the race. There’s a lot of work to do by tomorrow and Sunday, but I hope we can make our way through the field and once again compete for points.”

Stake F1 has shown signs of revival at Silverstone after their setbacks in Austria, with Valtteri Bottas expressing optimism about the team’s current standing.

“Based on what we’ve seen today, we appear to be in a better position compared to recent weeks, but ultimately, it’s the next two days that really count,” Bottas remarked.

“The car felt better and we didn’t have any balance issues: we’ve made some improvements since last weekend; the car is more balanced in high-speed corners, and we’ve made small steps forward in enhancing stability.”

“We’ve tried various things with both cars, so we have a lot of data, and of course, we’ll still need to find something overnight, just like everyone else—it’s part of the game. But being only a tenth off the top 10 gives us a lot of motivation to keep pushing.”

Guanyu Zhou also noted the team’s progress post-Austria: “It’s good to be back at Silverstone, a really nice and enjoyable circuit to drive. Today’s sessions were focused on gathering data and insights.”

“While there’s still work to be done to refine the baseline and balance of the car, everything already seems better than last weekend in Spielberg. The team continues to work on the car to prepare us for tomorrow’s qualifying session, where we might have the opportunity to achieve a good result.”

Yuki Tsunoda finished 16th in the second free practice session at the British Grand Prix, after missing FP1 due to a spin early in the session. The RB F1 driver acknowledges that the circuit does not yet suit his car and hopes to make progress ahead of qualifying.

“We knew where we stood, I didn’t expect us to struggle so much in FP2. But you never know. FP1 wasn’t an ideal start to the weekend, but that’s how it goes, and I hope to do better tomorrow. We have a good amount of data to analyze. We need to find performance to reach Q3,” Tsunoda stated.

“In terms of updates, there’s nothing significant on the car. It’s more about the track characteristics probably not suiting our car very well. The recent circuits feature a lot of fast corners which don’t match our car. And our rivals are progressing and moving fast, so we need to find better.”

Daniel Ricciardo ended the day in 19th position, but beyond the lack of pace, he identified several issues with his car: “It was a tough day, we got some answers to that. We had problems with the loads, we found issues on the car, and it’s a shame because we are trying to do our best.”

“Looking at what Yuki achieved, we can see we also have a problem. We need to make the cars better for tomorrow. It’s still fresh, but I think it will be okay tomorrow once we’ve gone through the data. I’m confident it’s nothing too serious. We have work tonight, but there’s another session we need tomorrow.”

The Australian humorously noted the unexpected leaderboard: “I look over at the Haas motorhome… we saw Nico [Hülkenberg] fourth, it was a strange day, a strange day! Fortunately, it’s not yet Saturday afternoon, there’s still time.”

The upgraded Haas F1 made a notable impression with Nico Hulkenberg, who secured the fourth fastest time in Free Practice 2 at Silverstone today.

F1 Friday Review Crucial Learnings from British GP 2024

This result was particularly encouraging for the German driver, who spent the day comparing the old and new parts. “It was a good Friday. In the morning, we ran the car without the upgrades and during the break, the team fitted the update. There are definitely some differences; it was positive right from the start, but of course, there’s still a lot to review and optimise. However, the first impression is positive, and that’s important and valuable.”

“This weekend could be challenging with the weather; there’s likely to be rain, and we need to prepare for that. I really like this track in the dry, the speeds we achieve here are fascinating, but I’ll take things as they come.”

Kevin Magnussen only participated in Free Practice 2, as Ollie Bearman took his seat in Free Practice 1.

“I skipped FP1, so I’m just starting to get into the rhythm, and with the weather towards the end, I didn’t manage to do a very long stint, so not many laps at all today, but I hope we can do more tomorrow.”

“I had the chance to test the car in the rain when we did a track run to test a start. I didn’t get much out of this session, but there’s another one tomorrow morning.”

“I wouldn’t mind the rain, although Nico seemed quite fast in the dry as well, so we’ll take things as they come.”

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