2023 British Grand Prix FP2: Verstappen on top as Williams emerge as dark horses

Alex Albon
Alex Albon

The perfect weather remained for FP2, but could we see a different result to what we saw in FP1 for the 2023 British Grand Prix’s FP2 session? Second Practice took place this late afternoon at Silverstone and although Max Verstappen was on top again, the timings made for very interesting behind him.

Carlos Sainz was Verstappen’s closest challenger, just two-hundredths off the Dutchman on the same tyres. Alex Albon finished third again and was faster than Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. Credit too has to go to Logan Sargeant, who produced a very respectable lap to go P5 when the hour of practice was up.

2023 British Grand Prix FP2

The drivers started the session by utilising the Hard and Medium compounds of tyre available to them. Carlos Sainz, who had looked competitive in FP1, topped the session in the early stages. His hero Fernando Alonso was unable to beat him when he was the first driver to use the Softs, which will be the choice of tyre in qualifying.

Max Verstappen, though, had no such trouble, posting a lap time a second up on Sainz to top the standings. The Red Bulls were unsurprisingly on top, but Alex Albon was again upsetting the order by going faster than Sergio Perez on the same tyres.

‘Obviously a very good day today. I think we need to stay true to ourselves as we don’t know what everyone else is doing. Looking at the timesheets you can’t not be happy, but I think it’s better to just focus on how we can continue to improve, as there’s still more to look at. Let’s also hope tomorrow stays dry,’ said Albon after Day 1.

James Vowels was playing down his team’s chances in the Press Conference, but it’s looking like this could’ve been a bluff.

2023 Miami Grand Prix, Saturday Alex Albon
Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Miami Grand Prix, Friday 5th May 2023. Miami International Autodrome, Miami, Florida, USA.

Despite Toto Wolff’s confidence in his Mercedes team in the Team Principal’s press conference earlier today, the Silver Arrows were still struggling for pace. Neither were in the top ten with 20 minutes remaining and Sir Lewis Hamilton, an eight-time winner at Silverstone, was languishing down in 15th.

The teams settled into their race simulations in the latter stages of Free Practice 2, so their overall fastest times did not change. Sainz remained P2, but it wasn’t a good session for Ferrari, as Charles Leclerc was unable to set a lap time in anger.

‘While the feeling in the car was good on the low fuel run, we still have some work to do to improve our race pace. We hope to make some steps forward by tomorrow, even though the conditions will be very different as we expect it to rain. It’s a shame that I couldn’t take part in FP2 because we lack some race simulations for Sunday, but we will work on maximizing what we have in preparation for qualifying and the race anyway,’ said a disappointed Leclerc.

Perez had a decent session to finish fourth, with Lance Stroll again showing good pace in sixth. Nico Hulkenberg had good one-lap pace again in his Haas, but it’s still unclear as to whether their race pace issues have been resolved. Pierre Gasly was a solid eighth and Oscar Piastri was again in the top ten in ninth this afternoon. Alonso completed the top ten in P10.

Nyck de Vries gave us some excitement after the clock had run out of time, as his front right tyre exploded heading into Village. Could that be a hint that we’ll see tyre issues like we saw in both 2013 and 2020 again?

Full Classification

The field was looking incredibly close in this session. On qualifying simulations, less than 1.5 seconds split the entire grid, so tomorrow’s qualifying session should be very tight!

1Max Verstappen1Red Bull1:28.078
2Carlos Sainz55Ferrari+0.022
3Alex Albon23Williams+0.218
4Sergio Perez11Red Bull+0.264
5Logan Sargeant2Williams+0.688
6Lance Stroll18Aston Martin+0.788
7Nico Hulkenberg27Haas+0.802
8Pierre Gasly10Alpine+0.811
9Oscar Piastri81McLaren+0.848
10Fernando Alonso14Aston Martin+1.056
11Zhou Guanyu24Alfa Romeo+1.147
12George Russell63Mercedes+1.160
13Esteban Ocon31Alpine+1.164
14Lando Norris4McLaren+1.182
15Lewis Hamilton44Mercedes+1.205
16Valtteri Bottas77Alfa Romeo+1.300
17Kevin Magnussen20Haas+1.361
18Yuki Tsunoda22AlphaTauri+1.405
19Nyck de Vries21AlphaTauri+1.493
20Charles Leclerc16FerrariNo time
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