Having set the early pace in FP1, Nico Rosberg was ordered to “stop the car” on just his 6th lap of the day. Ironically he parked it near where he was forced to retire from the 2014 race due to gearbox failure.
The gremlins were in the hydraulics and hopes were bleak that the German would make it back out before the end of the 90 minute session.
Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton had suffered an early spin as he got to grips with the stiffer suspension settings tested in Austria. The world champion then blitzed the Northamptonshire circuit with a time of 1:35.536, then 1:35.391 on his following lap a jaw dropping time in the 1:34’s.
On his final run Hamilton clocked a 1:34.344, a full second quicker than Rosberg’s FP1 table topping time in 2014.
The Toro Rosso pair were on it too. Once again demonstrating that Red Bull’s problems are much more of their own making than Christian Horner and Helmut Marko would have us believe.
The impressive Max Verstappen – who revealed this week at times he turns off his dashboard electronics so he can get a ‘gut feel’ for what the car is doing – was third quickest in the session, though just over 1:25s slower than the leader.
Sainz Jnr was fourth for most of the session until Kimi Raikkonen popped in a quick lap towards the end of the final 30 minutes.
Three development drivers were on show this morning and Suzie Wolff in the Williams was the quickest in P13 with a 1:37:242, followed closely by Joylon Palmer just two hundredths slower.
Marciello in the Sauber was no slouch, with a 1:37:372 – a whole tenth and a bit slower than the Lotus and Williams rookies.
It was another day of woe for Big Ron and his charges Jenson and Fernando. They managed 10 and 12 laps respectively however were P17 and P18 – just ahead of the Manor drivers and around four seconds of Mercedes pace.
The arrival six months late of Force India’s 2015 car did nothing to support Bob Fernley’s belief that the Silverstone based team can hunt down Red Bull. Hulkenberg was best placed in P9, though behind both Ricciardo and Kvyat and almost two seconds off the pace.
The with a few minutes to go, Rosberg’s car was repaired and despite complaining on his out lap that it didn’t feel ‘quite right’, the German driver got the hammer down putting in a lap just 0.040s quicker than Hamilton’s best. He followed this up with another faster lap and topped the session with a time of 1:34:274.
This lap time is quicker than any from last years event.
Following the session, the FIA technical delegate reported Mercedes for what he believes to be a breach of the sporting regulations. As Rosberg’s car arrived behind the pit garages on the flat bed truck, Mercedes mechanics climbed aboard and clipped a sheet to the underneath of the car. This concealed any detail of the floor pan from the cameras when the car was lifted from the truck.
However, article 27.4 states – “During the entire Event, no screen, cover or other obstruction which in any way obscures any part of a car will be allowed at any time in the paddock, garages, pit lane or grid, unless it is clear any such covers are needed solely for mechanical reasons, which could, for example, include protecting against fire.”
The incident has been referred to the stewards a meeting with the team is now scheduled for 1pm BST.
Baur commented: “As the car hasn’t suffered any kind of accident damage this in my opinion is a breach of Article 27.4 of the 2015 Formula One Sporting Regulations and I am referring this matter to the stewards for their consideration.”
FP2 starts at BST 14:00 and the long run pace of the cars should become evident, together with the first runs on the softer of the two Pirelli compounds available this weekend.
|3||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||1:35.530||1.256||18|
|5||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:35.669||1.395||33|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:35.818||1.544||26|
|8||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull||1:35.876||1.602||22|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:36.157||1.883||28|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:36.889||2.615||26|