Verstappen fastest, chasing pack in hot pursuit as F1 hits the track at Silverstone07 July 2023
Cars hit the track for the first time this weekend across Formula 1, and its three support categories for the British Grand Prix. The home fans had local drivers to cheer for in every session with Formula 3 and Formula 2 also taking part in their weekend-defining qualifying sessions.
Formula 1 FP1George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were among the first drivers to set laps, but Max Verstappen wasted no time in hitting the front with a 1:30.443 after five minutes of running. Lance Stroll went second shortly thereafter, half a second down on Max’s time. The Canadian was quickly displaced though, by the Scuderia Ferrari of Carlos Sainz whilst Yuki Tsunoda’s time of 1:30.937 placed him fourth on the timesheets. With just over half an hour on the clock, Segio Perez joined his Red Bull Racing team mate at the top of the order, just over a tenth behind Verstappen’s improved time of a 1:29.863. Logan Sargeant highlighted the Williams’ pace with third, whilst Sainz went fastest by half a second on the soft tyre with Charles Leclerc just six hundredths of a second slower.
With 20 minutes remaining, Esteban Ocon hit the front, but Leclerc quickly took it back by three hundredths. Late on in the session, Vertsappen went faster still with a 1:28.600, stretching his legs to go four tenths clear whilst Alonso hopped up to second, but was quickly replaced by Perez and Alex Albon. In an ultra-tight session, the gap from first down to Lance Stroll in ninth was nine tenths and Perez in second to Tsunoda in P16 was just one second. Lando Norris in the newly upgraded McLaren was the highest placed British driver in eighth whilst Hamilton and Russell ended the session in P12 and P14 respectively.
FP2Once again, it was championship leader Verstappen setting the early pace in FP2 with a 1:29.550, swiftly followed by Perez four tenths back. Oscar Piastri held third early on, with the Alpines looking competitive in fourth and fifth for Ocon and Pierre Gasly respectively. With 10 minutes of the session completed, Hamilton showed pace in the Mercedes to go third fastest, and Norris confirmed the pace of the McLaren going fifth behind Piastri. An electrical issue for Leclerc’s Ferrari meant he spent the session in the pits, failing to complete a single lap.
As the session reached the halfway point, Verstappen displaced previous session-topper Sainz with a 1:28.078. Albon held an impressive third, two tenths behind, then came Perez and the other Williams of Sargeant. In the final half of the session, the field completed their comprehensive long-run programmes on the medium and hard tyres. Although the AlphaTauri of Nyck de Vries suffered a late puncture, the session ended under green flag conditions with Verstappen fastest, Sainz two hundredths behind, then Albon. Russell, Norris and Hamilton finished P12, P14 and P15 respectively.
Formula 2Practice The sole British Formula 2 driver, Oliver Bearman went seventh fastest early on and as the session reached the halfway mark and Jack Doohan was fastest overall. The Prema Racing cars seemingly struggled through practice, with championship leader Frederik Vesti languishing down in P14 as the session concluded under red flag conditions, meanwhile, Bearman went wide onto the run-off at Copse. He’d eventually finish seventh-fastest with Ayumu Iwasa fastest, followed by Victor Martins and Doohan.
QualifyingThe first runs of the session would produce a rarely seen phenomenon in motorsport, Iwasa and Arthur Leclerc set identical times at 1:41.100. Stunned reactions from the fans were short-lived, however, as Bearman bested the pair of them, before a flurry of faster cars completed their laps. After an off-track excursion for Amaury Cordeel and subsequent red flags, the session restarted and the times were changing by the second, but Martins eventually took the top spot, followed by Kush Maini, Iwasa and Doohan with Bearman fifth.
Formula 3 PracticeOnce the drivers had got temperature into their tyres, Luke Browning went to the top of the timesheets, before being spun around by Kaylen Frederick as the pack jostled for on-track position. Despite his setback, Browning finished the session fastest whilst Zak O'Sullivan was ninth, having run inside the top ten for much of the 45-minutes. Christian Mansell finished just outside the top ten in P11.
QualifyingAfter the field had completed their initial runs, Browning sat atop the pile on a 1:46.250 and O'Sullivan eighth. With 10 minutes remaining, Browning had slipped to fifth and O'Sullivan to ninth, but Jonny Edgar had climbed up the order to eighth and Mansell up to seventh. As the seconds ticked down, Browning was third-fastest but abandoned his final attempt due to poor sector times. He eventually finished the session in eighth whilst Mansell vaulted to fourth and Barnard P10.
Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup PracticeThe field of Porsche Supercup drivers got their first laps in around the 5.891 km circuit and British native Harry King was quick to set the fastest time in the early stages. King would remain in and around the top five times for the remainder of practice, eventually finishing second-fastest to Bastian Buus. Meanwhile, fellow Brit Gustav Burton’s times were on the fringes of the top ten, until the final ten minutes when he vaulted up to third and saw the chequered flag eighth.