Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2015

Changing conditions will keep teams guessing

2015 British Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2015An unusually hot day at Silverstone left drivers struggling to get to grips with the track. And with race day set to be much cooler, the competitive order we saw today is likely to be shaken up.

Beneath a sunny sky the Silverstone asphalt exceeded 45C as the second practice session began this afternoon. This is substantially higher than average – in the past ten years, the nearest maximum track temperature seen in a race at Silverstone was 39C in 2006.

This goes some way towards explaining why so many drivers were complaining about their car balance at the beginning of the session. That and the gusty Silverstone winds caught a few drivers out, particularly as they switched from left to right between Brooklands and Luffield, where Fernando Alonso, Romain Grosjean and Roberto Merhi were all caught out.

But overnight rain is expected to reset the track surface overnight, and after that cooler temperatures and overcast conditions should keep it from getting anywhere near today’s peak. That may leave several drivers chasing their set-ups ahead of the pivotal qualifying session.

That will give some consolation to Lewis Hamilton as he found himself almost half a second off team mate Nico Rosberg in the second session. However he was one of only two drivers who failed to improve his time after switching to the softer medium tyre, so his run in final practice tomorrow will take on added importance.

Hamilton was behind both the Ferrari drivers in second practice. Following Maurizio Arrivabene’s complaints about his team’s ‘fake’ Friday performance in Austria, if his drivers stay as close to the pace as they were today then we may finally see them get back in the mix with the Mercedes drivers.

Sergio Perez, Force India, Silverstone, 2015In the midfield battle it’s an important weekend for Force India as they have finally brought their ‘true’ VJM08. The car features heavily revised aerodynamics including an unique nose featuring a pair of ‘nostrils’ and a more tightly sculpted engine cover.

Nico Hulkenberg was solidly inside the top ten, and although Sergio Perez was around a second off his team mate he believes the team is off to a “very positive start” with the ‘B-spec’ car.

“I feel we have definitely taken a step forward,” he said. “It is always a complex task to learn about all the new parts in just a couple of sessions, but by the last run of the session, I was feeling comfortable, and that’s promising for the race.”

However Perez admitted the biggest challenge for the team will be working out which route to go with their set-up with their little-tested car. “Qualifying will be interesting because there are many directions in which we can go and we’ll need to choose the right one.”

Longest stint comparison – second practice

This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint:

Lewis Hamilton99.52599.70799.76799.905
Nico Rosberg98.79298.68299.08499.44498.8698.945100.69298.35897.98898.5699.725
Daniel Ricciardo99.55799.08999.05199.26299.631103.08199.171
Daniil Kvyat98.58798.91398.69898.67798.48998.462
Felipe Massa98.91999.086100.48103.76899.25398.90799.342
Valtteri Bottas99.80799.77899.80799.812100.35199.89799.877
Sebastian Vettel98.44198.75198.666101.57599.34299.82298.655
Kimi Raikkonen99.794100.46699.65599.72399.91100.09899.638
Fernando Alonso102.177101.638
Jenson Button101.879101.743101.65101.57101.468
Nico Hulkenberg99.102104.14899.40199.64999.99999.7299.989113.731
Sergio Perez100.343100.85100.285100.26899.84799.848
Max Verstappen99.5599.23699.27399.47699.48599.23199.42799.64799.89999.58699.82
Carlos Sainz Jnr99.84599.73799.66199.23999.45999.85599.78299.942100.057100.144100.184100.666
Romain Grosjean99.543100.10599.81499.994100.037100.421
Pastor Maldonado101.296100.64100.196100.23100.368101.548101.393102.402101.351100.868
Marcus Ericsson103.551100.537100.22799.67999.173116.52999.142
Felipe Nasr100.461100.47100.242100.609101.035100.144
Will Stevens104.545103.538103.803102.984
Roberto Merhi100.105114.741112.669100.897

Complete practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2Total laps
1Nico RosbergMercedes1’34.2741’34.15545
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’34.3441’34.62149
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’35.5881’34.50250
4Sebastian VettelFerrari1’35.7391’34.52243
5Daniil KvyatRed Bull-Renault1’35.8761’35.00947
6Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’35.8181’35.15347
7Max VerstappenToro Rosso-Renault1’35.5301’35.30054
8Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’36.1571’35.38762
9Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault1’35.6691’35.86670
10Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’36.4691’36.14755
11Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Mercedes1’38.0801’36.16440
12Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’36.18333
13Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’36.8891’36.35154
14Romain GrosjeanLotus-Mercedes1’36.72821
15Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’38.2221’36.73130
16Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’36.8551’36.82243
17Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’38.8601’37.19626
18Susie WolffWilliams-Mercedes1’37.24219
19Jolyon PalmerLotus-Mercedes1’37.26226
20Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’37.32736
21Raffaele MarcielloSauber-Ferrari1’37.37217
22Will StevensManor-Ferrari1’38.9811’38.27944
23Roberto MerhiManor-Ferrari1’40.4771’39.87843

2015 British Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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13 comments on “Changing conditions will keep teams guessing”

  1. I cannot understand how Kvyat managed that lap time (faster than his teammate) on the harder compound?

    1. Me neither. RB definitely went their own way.

      I was eagerly following the 2015 SFI and the car looks visibly more grippy on high speed but you could also see that SFI are still far to reach the set up perfection they had achieved with the 2014B. The true 2015 car was all over the place on low speed this friday.
      Everything is tighter and probably tidier with their new car. I was surprised to hear that the chassis made for the 2014B is essentially the only old part of the true 2015 car. They said the front suspension is “old” but that’s because it was debuted in Monaco, alongside the introduction of a conventional positioning of the front callipers. Now the rear wing is the only thing I can’t remember when it had been debuted, but it mustn’t be that old. I’m surprised with how successful the team was during the start of the season, nor how poised the old car looked on Hulk’s hands in Austria, genuinely a top 10 car.

      1. A FI in the top 5 tomorrow?

    2. I think the hard compound was suited to the hot temperatures, hence Lewis didn’t improve in FP2 on mediums.

      1. Correct, and barely did Rosberg improve too.

        1. This is one of the real negative points of F1… Tires. Teams spend millions of pounds to build an engine and chassis combo only to handicapped by spec tyres.

          1. “to be handicapped”*

  2. Why would Verstappen say something like this:
    “I think we can be quite strong. P5 or P6 is a bit optimistic, but around P7 or P8 is a target, I think that is realistic. I think the long run was very good, I was very happy. I had a Mercedes in front of me and he was not pulling away a lot. In general, the car balance was very positive so I think we can be very good in the race. I think only Mercedes were a bit faster.”
    I don’t understand. He thinks their car is second only to Mercedes, then says he’s expecting P7/8. What then? Is he implying that he is underperforming? If he just means the race pace, I have news for him: It looks like STR might be around and even behind RBR and FI, rather than Ferrari this weekend. Of course they must have more data, but that’s a bit hyperbolic to say their race pace is second only to Mercedes. Though, to be honest, it looks like Williams is right there with them and RBR might give a challenge to Ferrari in this race. Seeing this season, I believe Ferrari is good at all tracks, but not better than Red Bull / Williams whoever their challenger is. The margin is so small that it is possible drivers are making the difference.

    1. He’s talking about the car.. maybe the engine will drag them backwards ;)

      1. Were they running without the engine today?

        1. What he meant is that the Renault engine is holding them backwards when compared to other engines manufacturers.

          It’s just an assessment of a teenager so don’t get too hyper about it.

  3. Q: Your team boss Maurizio Arrivabene said that with Ferrari’s tradition of running with low fuel on Friday you might get a false picture of where you are. Is that so?
    SV: One thing I can tell you: if we ran with low fuel for the long runs they wouldn’t be long runs! (laughs) One thing is sure: we can be more aggressive for Saturday and Sunday. So probably that is what we are going to do tomorrow.–ferrari-have-to-learn-from-rivals–tactics.html

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