Racing Point’s Lance Stroll topped Friday’s second practice session for the British Grand Prix, the Canadian edging Red Bull’s Alex Albon by a short 0.090s margin.
However, the British-Thai racer blotted his copy when he suffered a 20G high-speed crash at Stowe that damaged his car but from his fortunately escaped unscathed.
Mercedes Valtteri Bottas was third as the German outfit continued to diligently fine-tune its W11 Black Arrow. The Finn preceded among the top five Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and teammate Lewis Hamilton.
2020 British Grand Prix Free Practice 2 – Results
The Ferrari garage was buzzing with activity during Friday’s lunch break as Sebastian Vettel’s crew tended to the intercooler issue that sidelined the German in FP1.
But the four-time world champion’s SF1000 was ready for action when the session was a go.
While the weather remained blistering hot in FP2, forecasts for the weekend are calling for much cooler temperatures, something that could render the information collected on tyre performance on Friday relatively obsolete.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was the first driver to put a time on the board, but it was quickly beaten as traffic swelled on the track.
A effort from Verstappen on the medium tyre popped the Red Bull charger back to the top of the time sheet, but the Dutchman was overhauled in short order by Bottas and Albon.
Meanwhile, footage of Hamilton showed the Briton struggling to balance his W11 on Pirelli’s hard tyres, although the championship was still the fastest driver on the while-walled rubber.
In the red camp, Vettel head back to the pits after reporting over the radio that something was loose inside his cockpit.
Nico Hulkenberg continued to shed the rust, the German inching closer to the times of team mate Lance Stroll. But once the Canadian switched to a set of soft tyres for a qualifying simulation, he duly went fastest with a 1m27.274s.
A flyer by Verstappen, also on the soft rubber, was promptly destroyed by Haas’ Romain Grosjean who was cruising on the racing line. The Dutchman led the Frenchman know about his feelings by flipping a few birds to the Frenchman.
Shortly after, Alex Albon raised tensions further in the Red Bull camp when he lost control at Stowe and hit the barrier backwards, inflicting significant damage to the RB16 but fortunately not to himself.
The British-Thai racer appears to continue to struggle to come to grips with the backend of his car but also with the fact that he’s continually being outpaced by his teammate.
As a reminder, Albon has a new race engineer from this weekend, the experienced Simon Rennie who was designated to precisely help the 24-year-old improve.
The incident brought out the red flag and a short interruption that allowed everyone to regroup before heading into the final 30 minutes of running.
Vettel resumed his running after a pedal change, the Ferrari driver playing catch-up with only a half a dozen laps under his belt.
Long runs became the norm in the final 15 minutes, so there was no overhauling Stroll’s best, the Racing Point charger concluding FP2 ahead of Albon, Bottas, Leclerc and Hamilton.
McLaren Carlos Sainz enjoyed a solid day, clocking in P6, just ahead of Hulkenberg, while Gasly, Ricciardo and Raikkonen closed out the top ten.
Lando Norris’ in P11 was almost half a second down on Sainz, so more progress is required from the young Brit.
Williams Nicholas Latifi made up the rear after spinning in the closing minute of the session, a mistake among many that occurred in a session during which the hot condition pushed drivers and their car to their limits.
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