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Vettel sets FP2 pace at Silverstone

NEWS STORY
06/07/2018

Ahead of today's second practice session the air temperature is 25 degrees C, while the track temperature is 51 degrees. It remains bright and sunny and is likely to be that way for the remainder of the weekend.

Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets earlier, out-pacing teammate Valtteri Bottas by 0.367s and Sebastian Vettel by 0.511s.

A late transmission-related failure saw Max Verstappen's session brought to an early end, while Romain Grosjean crashed out while attempting to take T1 with his DRS open. The resultant damage to the Haas means the Frenchman will not be in action this afternoon as the team has had to change his chassis.

Also, in case you missed it, while his Austria engine is returned to base for further checks, Bottas has taken on his third power unit of the season.

While the track has been entirely resurfaced, Hamilton described it as the bumpiest he has ever raced on. There were a number of spins, most notably Kimi Raikkonen and Sergey Sirotkin.

The lights go green but there are no immediate takers. Indeed, it is almost four minutes before a driver (Vandoorne) heads out.

As he is joined by Sirotkin, Hartley, Leclerc and others, Vandoorne reports "no power". Told to cool the car a bit, the Belgian is soon able to continue.

As more cars head out, the drivers have opted for mediums and hards.

Vandoorne posts 31.622 while Magnussen and Leclerc (31.085) go quicker.

Alonso goes second with a 31.331, ahead of Magnussen, Gasly and Vandoorne.

Vettel gets out of shape in the final corner, as Raikkonen goes quickest in the first two sectors. The Finn crosses the line at 29.664 on the mediums.

Moments later, Vettel posts 29.842, the German also on the white-banded mediums.

As Ricciardo heads out, Magnussen runs wide in T15.

Quickest in all three sectors, Vettel goes top with a 28.856.

Christian Horner reveals that the gearbox in Verstappen's car has been changed for another, the Briton emphasising that it's not a new gearbox but rather another "Friday gearbox".

More problems for Verstappen, the Dutchman loses the rear of the car at T7, he catches it but the car snaps back and he goes off and hits the barrier. "Are you alright?" he is asked. "No mate," he replies, "the rear is damaged... argh!"

The session is red flagged.

It was the youngster's out lap so it is quite likely that his tyres weren't up to speed.

Unnoticed at the time, Raikkonen has gone quickest with a 28.591., while Ricciardo goes third with a 29.854.

The session resumes and Ricciardo is first to head out. The Australian is soon joined by Vandoorne, Perez, Sainz and Hartley.

Bottas, on hards, goes third with a 29.573 only to be leapfrogged by his Mercedes teammate moments later who crosses the line at 29.084.

Leclerc is the first driver to switch to softs, the Sauber driver making a mistake in S2 and running wide. A mistake also from Gasly who runs wide and kicks up a great cloud of dust.

A 28.676 sees Hamilton split the Ferraris as Raikkonen now switches to the softs.

Though quickest in the first two sectors, a poor final sector means he only improves by a little (28.525).

Elsewhere, Vandoorne is off but rejoins the track with no issues other than a very bumpy ride over the grass.

A 27.552 sees Vettel go top, the German posting purples in the first two sectors followed by a PB.

Now Hamilton heads out on the softs, followed by Bottas.

While the Briton aborts his first lap, Bottas improves to second with a 27.909, albeit 0.357s down on Vettel.

PBs in all three sectors see Sainz go eighth (29.563), as Hamilton can only manage 28.137, thereby remaining fourth. A scrappy lap from the world champion.

Hulkenberg improves to tenth (29.752) as Ocon goes sixth (29.467) and Ricciardo improves to 28.408 but remains fifth.

Hulkenberg improves to sixth with a 29.354, having fitted a new set of softs.

Hamilton, also on new softs, goes second with a 27.739.

"Switch off, switch off," Gasly is told as the Toro Rosso driver obeys and parks up at T3.

Alonso improves to sixth with a 29.306, his team suitably impressed.

With thirty minutes remaining, as is always the case, attention turns to race sims as drivers prepare for the opening stint of Sunday's race.

"Ah, come on," moans Raikkonen, after almost T-Boning Stroll in the pitlane. "I had to brake completely not to hit the rear."

Currently 15th, Stroll's session gets worse as he make a mess of the Maggots complex and heads off across the grass.

Ferrari has put its drivers on a split strategy, Vettel is on mediums while Raikkonen is on soft, at Sauber Ericsson is also on mediums.

"We've split the tyres for the last long runs of FP2," confirms the Swiss team. "Ericsson currently on the Mediums and Leclerc on Softs. We know that "High Fuel + Silverstone = not tyre friendly" so we need to see the amount of degradation for the race."

Out come the yellows as Leclerc appears to be caught out by the wind at T6. The youngster is told to pit for a change of tyres.

Having battled with Magnussen earlier, Alonso is now having a great scrap with Leclerc. The pair are currently sixth (Alonso) and tenth on the timesheets.

"Heavy traffic," complains Vettel as he finds himself behind a train of three cars.

The session ends. Vettel is quickest, ahead of Hamilton, Bottas, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Alonso, Hulkenberg, Ocon, Perez and Leclerc.

Sainz is eleventh, ahead of Magnussen, Gasly, Ericsson, Stroll, Sirotkin, Vandoorne and Hartley, with Verstappen failing to post a time and Grosjean not taking part.

Check out our Friday gallery from Silverstone, here.

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