The 10th round of the Formula One championship is set ton take place at Silverstone this weekend. The bad news for Lewis Hamilton fans is despite his P2 in the second practice session, the long run pace of the Mercedes W13 is still slower than Red Bull and Ferrari.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc loves the British circuit having finished third, third and second in the last three runnings of the event. Though worryingly power unit issues plagued the Monegasque driver
But Charles’ team mate was super impressive during FP2 finishing top of the time sheets and lap time data reveals the Spaniard could have had an an even bigger advantage had he got all his best mini sectors together. Leclerc would move into second in this metric, with Ferrari emerging as the strongest of all in qualifying trim.
It is the Red Bull team which has the race pace again with Mercedes almost 0.7s a lap slower.
Toto Wolff’s talk of a Hamilton record win at Silverstone seem rather far fetched. “I think if we give him a car that is just a few tenths off the leaders, he will win the race,” the Austrian Mercedes boss told Reuters.
Good news for Lewis Hamilton was the bouncing of the W13 along the straights is now gone. “It’s still bouncing quite a bit, not necessarily in a straight line but through the corners is pretty harsh. Not physically harsh, but just like in the car, on the tyres and everything,” reported Hamilton.
This was reflected in the data from F1 revealing Mercedes were slower than both McLaren in the slow speed corners and McLaren were significantly quicker down the straight too.
For qualifying McLaren look to be the fourth quickest team though their straight line speed only bettered by Williams will be a concern for Mercedes in the race.
Alpine have brought a number of upgrades inspired by the Red Bull and Ferrari cars and while their qualifying pace puts them 5th – on the high fuel runs they were 4th just behind Mercedes.
Also worrying for the other teams was Max Verstappen wasn’t happy with the car all day and Sergio Perez described the car as “miles off”. Yet analysis of the data overnight will almost certainly see the Red Bull performing significantly better in FP3 and qualifying.
The weather forecast for Saturday suggests while there may be rain prior to qualifying it will be dry when the session begins. This too plays to Ferrari and Red Bulls advantage.