British GP Practice Two: Sebastian Vettel sets Friday pace
Vettel ahead for the first time on a Friday in 2018; Hamilton two tenths behind upgraded Ferrari; Verstappen crashes out
By Pete Gill at Silverstone
Last Updated: 10/12/18 8:51am
Sebastian Vettel set the pace for the first time in a 2018 Friday session as Ferrari upstaged Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton on the opening day of the British GP.
Ferrari typically turn down their engine power for the Friday practice sessions but, armed with a new floor, Vettel still uncorked sufficient speed to top the timesheets with a lap of 1:27.552.
Vettel, whose benchmark was nearly a faster faster than the quickest time in the corresponding session a year ago, said: "Everything we put on the car seemed to work. It's a small step in the right direction."
Hamilton, who trails Vettel by a single point in the world championship and is chasing a fifth consecutive British GP win this weekend, was two tenths slower than the upgraded Ferrari at a sun-soaked Silverstone.
"I just have the feeling that this is a hugely significant session," said Sky F1 commentator David Croft.
And Anthony Davidson added: "This is a Mercedes circuit, it has been for a long time, and Ferrari have come here and topped them. I think that Ferrari update is working pretty well round here."
Valtteri Bottas, running his third engine of the season as a precaution after his Austrian GP retirement, was a further two tenths adrift while Kimi Raikkonen was half a second behind his Ferrari team-mate in fourth.
Max Verstappen crashed out at the start of the session after losing control of his Red Bull car at Luffield.
Red Bull chief Christian Horner described the crash as "annoying" and "irritating".
Verstappen also suffered a gearbox glitch during Practice One, leaving the Dutchman, the victor at last week's Austrian GP, acutely short of track time heading into the weekend. However, as Verstappen wasn't running one of his race gearboxes, there appears to be no threat of a grid penalty.
While fifth-fastest Daniel Ricciardo collected plenty of meaningful mileage for Red Bull, Fernando Alonso brought welcome encouragement to McLaren and their reshuffled management team following Eric Bouller's departure by setting the sixth-quickest lap of the day.
But underlining the uneven nature of this year's grid, Alonso was 1.754 seconds slower than Vettel while barely two tenths covered the Spaniard down to the 10th-placed Sauber of Charles Leclerc.
On a day featuring a series of on-track difficulties for the field, Leclerc spun late on while Pierre Gasly was forced out by a suspected engine failure on his Honda-powered Toro Rosso. But Honda confirmed Gasly was using a 'high mileage Friday PU' which was due to be replaced anyway.
Haas' Romain Grosjean missed the session entirely after crashing out during Practice One and wrecking his chassis.
Qualifying starts at 2pm on Saturday with Practice Three underway at 11am.
British GP Practice Two Timesheet
|Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||+0.856|
|Esteban Ocon||Force India||+1.915|
|Sergio Perez||Force India||+1.970|
|Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||+2.279|
|Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||+2.852|
|Romain Grosjean||Haas||No time set|
|Max Verstappen||Red Bull||No time set|