And after the glorious sunshine that basked Friday’s running, there were a few showers about the circuit this morning with a sharp downpour having brushed through with one hour before the start of the final free practice session for the British Grand Prix. The sun was trying to re-appear, but the potential for damp conditions today could have led to a further mix up of the order after Friday’s surprises.
While Red Bull and Max Verstappen continued their dominance by topping both sessions on Friday, Carlos Sainz was only 0.22s off the Dutchman in Practice Two. Alex Albon was arguably the star of yesterday though as he placed his Williams P3 in both sessions, with team-mate Logan Sargeant also P5 in the second practice.
But it was a more difficult day for the three British drivers as Lewis Hamilton, George Russell and Lando Norris were in the lower half of the midfield and will be looking for a much improved Saturday.
Charles Leclerc was confident that his Ferrari would be ready for action today, despite having to sit out the entirety of Practice Two following an electrical issue. The Monegasque says he doesn’t expect to face any grid penalties on Sunday as a result of the changes Ferrari have had to make to his car. Sky Sports F1’s Naomi Schiff discussed Charles Leclerc missing all of second practice: “Obviously seat time is everything in a car, so it will be hindering him, but they’ve got a whole another hour of practice this morning. So I think by the end of the session he will have come to terms with the car. They’ve got the same car as they had at the Red Bull Ring, so he doesn’t have too much to get to grips with. But it’s obviously not ideal for a driver, you never want to be sat in the garage while others are driving.”
The FIA radar said there was a 90% risk of rain in Practice Three and it looked like some rain could be set to arrive in the second half of the hour-long session so we could expect plenty of cars out straight away as teams sought as much dry running as possible.
We are under way for Final Practice and it was Fernando Alonso first on track. Dry circuit at that stage and with rain on the way, the track soon got very busy. This was not a good start to the session for McLaren and Lando Norris. As he was making his way out the pits, the Brit was told to stop the car, and did so. This issue was that McLaren had forgotten to take a cooling fan off the rear of the car, and a mechanic ran down the pit lane to remove it. The bigger problem for McLaren was that the mechanic may have breached the rules by touching the car with it having gone over the white line at the end of the pit lane. The incident was being investigated by the stewards.
Show your support for Scuderia Ferrari with official merchandise collection! Click here to enter the F1 online Store and shop securely! And also get your F1 tickets for every race with VIP hospitality and unparalleled insider access. Click here for the best offers to support Charles and Carlos from the track!
Max Verstappen set a 1:28.836 on the mediums as Charles Leclerc was 0.066s behind. His Maranello teammate Carlos Sainz was third, with Sergio Perez in fourth and Lando Norris appeared to have no problems with his car in fifth. With 48 minutes to go in FP3, Carlos Sainz set the fastest time of the weekend so far with a 1:27.964 on the same soft tyres he’s been on in the opening 12 minutes. Sergio Perez on the mediums moved up to third but was 0.940s down on Carlos. Charles Leclerc made it a Ferrari 1-2 by going second, just 0.104s behind his team-mate. Meanwhile, Oscar Piastri tried to overtake Nico Hulkenberg at Stowe and Vale before backing off.
Charles Leclerc made it a Ferrari 1-2 by going second, just 0.104s behind his team-mate. Meanwhile, Oscar Piastri tried to overtake Nico Hulkenberg at Stowe and Vale before backing off. Lewis Hamilton then went purple in the first sector, lost a tenth in the middle sector to Carlos Sainz, but found one tenth in the final sector to go 0.016s faster. Those soft tyres were holding up very well. Charles Leclerc smashed Hamilton’s time by half a second with a 1:27.419. It was a triple purple lap for Charles Leclerc, as he was fastest in every sector. Considering he missed yesterday’s second practice session, Charles Leclerc was flying out there in those cooler conditions.
Midway through the session, we could see the umbrellas going up in the grandstands opposite the media centre here at Silverstone – confirming that the rain had finally arrived. Race control soon declared a wet track, as Sky Sports’ Ted Kravitz confirmed the rain was falling with “intensity”.
Charles Leclerc said he wanted to stay out on slicks despite the wet conditions. He was trying to find out how far he could get away with being on the wrong tyre while it was raining. Brave stuff from our Charles. Lando Norris was also out there on dry tyres on a damp track and didn’t appear to be losing that much time. A few slides as he got on the power out of the slower corners, but it’s not like he has absolutely no grip.
The rain was picking up at Silverstone and Fernando Alonso said it was also getting more windy. Qualifying would be fun in these conditions.
All drivers apart from Alex Albon, Logan Sargeant, Kevin Magnussen and Zhou Guanyu were on track in the final stages of FP3. The drivers were lapping in the low 1:40s, although Max Verstappen was in the 1:38s. This was all important to know to find the crossover point between the intermediates and dry tyres.
No incidents or big moments for anyone but some key practice in these damp conditions gained for Qualifying. The Alpine drivers looked quick in the rain, while Lewis Hamilton trialed a few different lines to find some grip.
Results from final practice at the British Grand Prix, Round 10 of the F1 2023 world championship.
|3||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Aston Martin||1m27.784s|
|8||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull||1m28.266s|
|11||Nyck de Vries||NED||AlphaTauri||1m28.504s|
|13||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin||1m28.620s|
|14||Sergio Perez||MEX||Bull Racing||1m28.904s|
|18||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Alfa Romeo||1m29.586s|
|20||Zhou Guanyu||CHN||Alfa Romeo||No Time Set|