Mercedes Sets Practice Pace At Silverstone

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Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton set the pace in practice for the British Grand Prix as Mercedes showed they could take some stopping this weekend.

With gusts blowing across Silverstone, several drivers found the conditions challenging, but the championship-leading Silver Arrows laid down a marker.

Bottas was quickest on the day, clocking a lap of one minute and 26.732 seconds on soft tires in FP2. It nudged him 0.069secs ahead of five-time British GP winner Hamilton on the leaderboard, with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel third and fourth respectively.

On the recently-laid track, Bottas did not complete all of his planned laps in Friday's second session as Mercedes examined an issue with his car. He was able to return to the track though, confirmation of there being no major problem.

Red Bull's Pierre Gasly had been quickest in FP1 and remained competitive in the afternoon as he finished fifth, ahead of McLaren's Lando Norris. Gasly's team-mate Max Verstappen, who won last time out in Austria, sat seventh in FP2 after finishing third in the opener.

Verstappen said: "From my side it was not so good and I didn't find a good balance with the car in FP1 or FP2. I was sliding around a lot in the wind and struggling for rear grip, so we have a bit of work to do. Even though I'm not fully comfortable yet we're not that far away and the times are pretty close which is a positive.

"There is a lot more grip with the new tarmac which all drivers like. In general, the new surface is quite a good change but there are some pretty bumpy sections out there, especially going into Turn 6 and Turn 9. It’s not very easy on tires here with the high energy corners so it will be interesting to see what choices everyone makes on Saturday and in the race. It’s promising that we are still quite close to Mercedes and Ferrari so there is still a lot of potential for the weekend."

Haas driver Romain Grosjean, meanwhile, was left red-faced by a bizarre FP1 crash.

The 33-year-old Frenchman is a veteran of over 150 grands prix but contrived to rattle his car into barriers, spin and lose his front wing on the way out of the pits. He later went into a spin at Brooklands and experienced a hydraulic leak, keeping his car in the garage for a chunk of FP2.