The Mercedes F1 team on Friday seemed to show their vulnerable side for the first time this season. Team drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were unable to make the fastest laps in Friday’s practice in Silverstone, England. Hamilton's home track was expected to be dominated by Mercedes.
Instead, the fastest pace in free practice was held first by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and later by Racing Point’s Lance Stroll. In Friday’s hot second practice, Bottas was third and Hamilton Fifth.
The Finnish driver was not particularly worried.
- We still have work to do, but the other exercises didn't feel very bad. I wouldn't worry. The overall feel is good, Bottas commented on Motorsport Total.
In the English heat, Mercedes had performance problems, especially with soft tires. Today, Saturday, the temperature in Silverstone should be much lower: about 20 degrees. The wind that affected the results will also change.
Bottas commented to Motorsport Total that his team spent Friday night figuring out how to tear up the car’s performance better.
Christian Horner, the team manager of the rival Red Bull team, considered Friday times mostly an eye-opener. He believes Mercedes will keep its pace stable.
- We know from the first races that Mercedes has a huge advantage over others. We’re working hard to close the gap, but they’re adjusting the pace of their cars to the level of the ones coming back, Horner told Motorsport Total.
So the Red Bull boss won’t bite to swallow his own stable and Racing Point’s good results on Friday. Red Bull’s Alexander Albon was the second fastest in the second practice.
From Horner, Mersu only hit everything in the second week in Hungary when Bottas chased Verstappen at the end of the race.
- Only then was their real momentum seen. In previous races, Lewis kept his pace so as not to consume his car in vain. I think Mercedes always has a lot in its back pocket, Horner guessed.
The third free practice will take place today, Saturday, at 1 pm Finnish time. The time trial is ahead at 4 p.m.