Max Verstappen narrowly beat Carlos Sainz to top spot in FP2 for the British Grand Prix on Friday, with both Williams drivers making it into the top five in their qualifying simulations.
Alex Albon made it a pair of P3 finishes after taking third place in FP1 earlier on Friday, with Logan Sargeant ranking fifth behind the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez.
Verstappen edged just 0.022s clear of Ferrari driver Sainz come the end of the session, with the teams moving to try out qualifying simulations and long run pace in practice conditions.
Max Verstappen tops delayed British Grand Prix FP2 session
Barrier repairs from Formula 2 qualifying just beforehand delayed the start of FP2 by a few minutes in the afternoon sun at the British Grand Prix, but it was not long before the drivers were out and hammering around Silverstone for their second practice hour.
As expected, the two Red Bull drivers led the way on the initial runs on medium tyres but the McLaren of Oscar Piastri was the one to be third-quickest, carrying the upgrades team-mate Lando Norris had in Austria last week.
But last year’s race winner, Carlos Sainz, would soon take top spot on a 1:29.083, three tenths faster than the Red Bull of Sergio Perez, while Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc was left rooted in his garage with the Scuderia investigating an electrical issue.
But as is always the case in FP2, qualifying simulations on the soft tyre would soon follow, and Verstappen put on a set of softs and went back to the top of the timesheets on a 1:28.078 – a full second quicker than Sainz.
Having gone third quickest in FP1, the pace on show from Williams was clearly not just a flash in the pan either, with Alex Albon lapping just two tenths slower than his former Red Bull team-mate – prompting a nervously happy team principal as James Vowles’ jumpy reaction was caught on camera as Albon crossed the line.
Logan Sargeant also put his car into the top five as the Williams, known for being slippery in a straight line, made the most of Friday practice and looked to have made solid steps forward.
Car repairs were happening throughout the grid as Lando Norris needed to spend plenty of time in his garage after his initial runs, and Lance Stroll was seen grabbing at his wing mirror through Maggots and Becketts, having said on team radio “it just snapped” and his Aston Martin needed a change.
Stroll was in the wars again after his mirror was repaired too, seen moving his hand inside his cockpit and reporting that: “I just got a stone that hit my finger pretty bad” – which will doubtless be more painful than it sounds, particularly at high speed.
As for the rest of the field, Norris was able to get out and going again but barring the problems for Leclerc, the rest of the field looked to run relatively seamlessly around Silverstone in FP2 on Friday.
Long run simulations took hold in the second half of the session, with one of the home heroes George Russell reporting he had “no grip” and was “sliding all over the place” while taking in his practice laps.
It looked a tricky session for Mercedes overall with Russell and Lewis Hamilton down in 12th and 15th overall, but there is still plenty of time for things to change overnight and into qualifying on Saturday.
The only blip came right at the end of the session, with Nyck de Vries suffering a puncture into the braking zone at Village and his AlphaTauri bottoming out under braking. He was left to crawl back for most of the lap with his right front deflated, and potentially a heavily scratched floor to deal with for his mechanics overnight.
In terms of headline times though, it was Verstappen once again who was top of the pile at the end of the session, albeit marginally from former Toro Rosso team-mate Sainz, with plenty of running still to come on Saturday before the grid is set for Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
FP2 classification: 2023 British Grand Prix
1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull 1:28.078
2 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +0.022
3 Alexander ALBON Williams +0.218
4 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull +0.264
5 Logan SARGEANT Williams +0.688
6 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +0.788
7 Nico HULKENBERG Haas +0.802
8 Pierre GASLY Alpine +0.811
9 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +0.848
10 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +1.056
11 ZHOU Guanyu Alfa Romeo +1.147
12 George RUSSELL Mercedes +1.160
13 Esteban OCON Alpine +1.164
14 Lando NORRIS McLaren +1.182
15 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +1.205
16 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo +1.300
17 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas +1.361
18 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri +1.405
19 Nyck DE VRIES AlphaTauri +1.493
20 Charles LECLERC Ferrari NO TIME