Mercedes Dominate Day 1 of 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

In what may be a worrying sign for their rivals, the Silver Arrows dominated the opening day of the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, finishing 1-2 in both FP1 and FP2.

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Valtteri Bottas set the pace in the morning session, with his teammate Lewis Hamilton 0.138s back in P2.

“We learned a lot last week, so the starting set-up today was good. The car felt more comfortable than in the race or in qualifying, so the balance already feels pretty much there. We focused a lot on the tyres today and there doesn’t seem to be a lot between the Medium and the Soft when it comes to single lap pace. The Soft is struggling with the high-speed corners, especially in these hot temperatures and if you’re running on higher fuel. We’ll look tonight at all the options and make sure we get the plan right for qualifying. It should be good fun tomorrow,” said Bottas.

2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Friday - Valtteri Bottas (image courtesy Mercedes AMG Petronas)
2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Friday – Valtteri Bottas (image courtesy Mercedes AMG Petronas)

The tables were turned in the afternoon, as Hamilton topped the timesheets with Bottas 0.176s shy in second.

“It’s been a good start to the weekend. We brought a lot of learnings over from last week and with just a few small adjustments to the set-up we’ve been able to fine-tune the car and make some progress, which is positive. Both the Soft and Medium tyres feel very similar out there and there’s not a huge amount of time between them. We saw some overheating with the tyres, so they are going to take some nursing to get the best out of them. It was great to take the win here last weekend, but I know just how strong Valtteri is and as we saw last weekend, absolutely anything can happen in F1.”

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2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Friday - Lewis Hamilton (image courtesy Mercedes AMG Petronas)
2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Friday – Lewis Hamilton (image courtesy Mercedes AMG Petronas)

Daniel Ricciardo ended the day in the top three after recording the third fastest time in Free Practice 2 on Pirelli’s Soft (C4) tyres.

“In the morning we did quite a bit of data gathering so we knew it wasn’t going to be totally representative. For the afternoon, we had a bit of a warm-up, made a change to the car, which worked, and it felt great. We had a good run on the Hard and then on the Soft as well. On that Soft run, we still missed out a bit in some areas, so there’s definitely more there. Our long runs also looked decent, so that’s a good base for Sunday. I think the wind direction is changing tomorrow, so we’ll see what happens there. Overall, it’s been a good day for us,” concluded the Australian.

70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Friday - Daniel Ricciardo (image courtesy Renault F1)
70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Friday – Daniel Ricciardo (image courtesy Renault F1)