Long run pace analysis of Friday’s running brought out some fascinating insights as Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton struggled at the end of his soft tyre stint,
Mercedes were head and should clear of the field in first practice, before Red Bull closed the gap during the afternoon session. Not only Ricciardo’s fastest time was within half a second half of Hamilton, he also looked competitive on the long runs.
The medium and high speed corners which dominate the layout of Silverstone suit the characteristics of RB12, as evident in the timesheets.
On the soft tyres, Hamilton started out well, completing two laps in the 1:35s before consistently lapping in the 1:37s. However, by the end of his stint his laptimes started to deteriorate, dipping well into 1:38s.
Tyre wear appeared to be less of an issue for Red Bulls, with both Ricciardo and Verstappen managing better average lap times than Hamilton on the same rubber.
It is difficult to evaluate Ferrari’s simulations on soft tyres, with both Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel completing less than 10 laps on the yellow-striped tyres.
As far as the medium tyre running was concerned, Hamilton was back on top with an average of 1:36.061. Verstappen, whose stint was significantly longer, was a second down.
Vettel, the only Ferrari driver to do a long run on medium tyre, was woefully of the pace - even slower than Felipe Massa’s Williams. However, it must be noted that Ferrari were using an older specification engine on Friday. Expect the Maranello-based team to look slightly more competitive come Saturday.
Vettel 1:36.645 (8)
Verstappen 1:37.219 (11)
Ricciardo 1:37.281 (15)
Hamilton 1:37.462 (15)
Raikkonen 1:37.512 (16)
Hamilton 1:36.061 (9)
Ricciardo 1:36.629 (7)
Verstappen 1:36.997 (16)
Vettel 1:38.367 (18)
by Rachit Thukral