Carlos Sainz seems to finally be getting comfortable in his F1-75 with the latest evidence being him topping timesheets of the FP2 of the British Grand Prix.
Sainz finished ahead of the crowd favorite Lewis Hamilton on Friday by producing the day’s fastest lap of one minute 28.942 seconds, 0.163 quicker than Mercedes’ seven times world champion Hamilton.
Britain’s Lando Norris was third for McLaren in the dry second session, with Red Bull’s championship leader Max Verstappen fourth — after complaining of a ‘weird noise’ — and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc fifth.
Hamilton, fresh off of the Nelson Piquet controversy, told his team over the radio that something appeared to have fallen off the floor of his car at turn nine towards the end of the session.
Mercedes are bringing in major upgrades at Hamilton’s home race in hopes of overcoming their bouncing problems.
Russell, eighth but on a different program to Hamilton, said there were some positive signs but also room for improvement, with race pace usually much stronger than qualifying.
Verstappen leads Mexican teammate Sergio Perez, who was seventh fastest in the second session, by 46 points after nine races.
FP2 of the British Grand Prix gave the 106,000 attending fans something to cheer about after Valtteri Bottas had led a damp and largely meaningless first practice, with half the field including Verstappen failing to set a time.
Bottas did only nine laps and clocked a comparatively slow time of 1:42.249 seconds in his Alfa Romeo, with Hamilton second but 0.532 slower.
They were the only two to set a time on slicks at the end of that session, with others on wets on an afternoon of classic British summer weather with showers and the sun occasionally poking through.
The fans packed in regardless and more than 400,000 are expected over a sellout three days at Silverstone compared to last year’s attendance of 356,000 which would make it the biggest three-day attendance at a sporting event in Britain.