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Could it be that “Williams” will become the sensation of the scene? Highlights from Friday UK GP

Date: June 18, 2024 Time: 10:35:09

Two Friday practice sessions at the British Grand Prix brought us the traditional first-place winner, but behind Max Verstappen, the line-up turned out to be an odd one. Friday’s main events at Silverstone and our takeaways from them are for his attention.

Leclerc’s problems amid Ferrari’s pace

The Italian team has returned to its traditional form: that is, it has a car that can challenge Red Bull for one lap, but hardly in race mode. We’ll talk about Sunday’s race though, but for now we’ll say that Carlos Sainz lost just 22 thousandths of a second to Verstappen, a very positive start to the weekend.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Charles Leclerc’s Friday. The Monegasque missed the second practice session entirely due to problems with the electrical system of his car; they could not be quickly eliminated and as a result Leclerc did not practice either qualifying or race mode. This obviously puts Charles at a disadvantage for the rest of the Grand Prix.

“It’s a shame that I couldn’t participate in the second practice, because now we don’t have enough race simulation before Sunday. But in any case, we will work to make the most of what we have before qualifying and the race”, Lekler summed up the day.

The mechanics work in the pits with the car of Charles Leclerc

Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

“Mercedes” again does not go

If Ferrari has reliability problems, but not speed, Mercedes has the opposite situation. In first practice, Hamilton and Russell didn’t shine immediately, but they assumed the goal was to use stiffer sets of tyres; they say, put the “software” and everything will be in order. But when, in the second practice session, the Mercedes drivers came onto the track on soft tyres, they realized it was a problem.

“In one lap, I didn’t feel any improvement with the change of tire type. This shows that something is wrong. We’re missing something, Hamilton said, but he still found reason for optimism. —Long series of circles looked good. At least it’s positive.”

It is quite possible that by Saturday Mercedes will find out the setup, but in general questions arise: what is happening with the German team in the last few races? After positive feedback about the work of the updated car, the former champions suddenly backed down, as if we were dealing with an old version of the car with “zero” sidepods. It seems that the engineers still do not fully understand what is wrong with your car.

Surprise “Williams”

If someone backs down, then, logically, the authors of the surprise should also appear with a plus sign. On Friday, that was Williams, who celebrated his 799th Grand Prix in history and already started celebrating a powerful anniversary ahead of schedule. When Alex Albon showed the third time in the first practice, it still looked like an accident, but in the second practice session, the Thai again became third and Logan Sargent jumped to fifth position – power!

Of course, it is clear that it is early to run and bet on the success of one of the pilots of the legendary team on the podium. Leclerc’s car will be serviced for qualifying, Mercedes, Aston Martin and McLaren will work on the set-up… And yet the pace of Williams’ updated car cannot fail to impress. Previously, we thought the Brits were only good on tracks where there were lots of long straights and top speed was important, but Silverstone, with its many fast corners, shows that we underestimated the potential of Williams. Still, let’s see where Albon and Sargent end up on Saturday. It is especially alarming for the American, who, although he climbed very high, still lost four tenths to an experienced partner.

As for Albon, the next high-profile results came at the right time: against the backdrop of rumors that Alex could replace Carlos Sainz at Ferrari in one season. Yes, so far this is just speculation, probing the ground, but it’s clear that the Thai reads such news with a big smile on his face.

What the Italians wrote about Albon and Ferrari:

Designated the driver who can go to the “Ferrari” in the event of the departure of Carlos Sainz

Pirelli puncture debut

The updated Pirelli tires made their debut at the British Grand Prix; according to the guarantees of the Italians, they retain the same performance, but better withstand the increased speed of F-1 cars. The debut came out blurry: at the end of the second practice session, the right front wheel of Nick de Vries’ car dropped sharply. Now Pirelli can only hope that we are talking about a puncture, and not about a global problem that suddenly arose.

Parade of novelties while idle

Several teams have brought serious updates to Silverstone. In particular, we are talking about the front wings from Mercedes and Alpin, as well as a full-scale package of new products from Alpha Tauri. The Italians, among other things, presented updated side and bottom pontoons.

And here’s a coincidence: about the new items we talk about the most, he was not impressed. The torments of the Mercedes have already been described, the Alpin drivers did not particularly shine, but Tsunoda and de Vries showed the last two results in the second practice, except for Leclerc.

Updated car “Alfa Tauri”

Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

True, Alfa Tauri assured that their data show that the innovations work globally. It is that in the second training it was not possible to find the right balance, especially for the qualifying attempts. Well, the Italians have previously been famous for weak Saturdays with decent racing. Let’s see how it turns out this time.

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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