British Grand Prix: Practice Sessions
The two free practice sessions in Silverstone were in marked contrast: cool and overcast conditions in the morning with a threat of rain followed by warm and dry conditions in the afternoon, with air and track temperatures peaking at 22 and 35 degrees centigrade respectively.
This allowed drivers to try all three tyres nominated for Silverstone – hard, medium and soft – in a wide variety of conditions, gathering an ample range of data with different fuel loads on each compound. As the weather forecast for the weekend remains uncertain, this will provide extremely useful information prior to the race.
Continuing a recurrent theme this year, last season’s pole position time was already comprehensively beaten in FP1, underlining how much quicker the cars have become since 2015.
The lateral energy loads going through the tyres at Silverstone, with its long sweeping corners, is among the highest all year.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time of the day in FP1 on the medium tyre, which is expected to be a favoured race tyre, before concentrating on longer runs using the soft in the afternoon.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “Silverstone has been at its spectacular high-speed best today, with last year’s pole position time already beaten in FP1, despite the fact that the circuit was comparatively ‘green’. With rain forecast for FP3 tomorrow, and possibly even for qualifying too, today’s sessions are likely to be very relevant for the race on Sunday – although there’s a chance of mixed conditions at the grand prix itself as well. Obviously all the drivers were running different fuel loads today, which makes direct comparisons quite tricky, but in isolation we’re seeing half a second separating the hard and medium compounds for now in terms of performance, plus 1.7 seconds between medium and soft: so just over two seconds covering the whole range here from hard to soft.”