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British GP: Bottas outpaces Hamilton in 2nd practice

2017-07-14 16:21

Image: AP Photo/Frank Augstein

Silvertosne - In-form Valtteri Bottas registered a 'double top' ahead of Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton to confirm his title credentials in Friday's opening practice sessions ahead of this weekend's 2017 British Grand Prix.

Bottas who joined the team as a replacement for retired 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg, emerged as a genuine championship contender when he won last Sunday's Austrian race.

His current consistency has made him the highest points-scorer over the last four races while Hamilton, who trails championship leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari by 20 points, has battled unexpected setbacks and misfortunes.

As it happened: 2017 British GP: 2nd practice

Bottas clocked a best lap of one minute and 28.496 seconds to outpace Hamilton by 0.047 seconds at the top of the timesheets in the afternoon's second session, with the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel third and fourth.

Max Verstappen was fifth ahead of his Red Bull team mate Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg of Renault and Felipe Massa of Williams.

Raikkonen said:"Yes, we had a new engine, but it was quite normal, one of those things. It's a fresh one and it's a little bit better, but nothing major. It was planned... Today was a bit windy, but not too bad. Sometimes a bit tricky, but quite normal for here."

Verstappen said he was disappointed to see Red Bull trailing Ferrari again. But not surprised.

He said: "Yes we are lagging behind, too slow for sure but we are always running a bit behind in that way with the engines so we have to work harder on the car to find time."

Two-time champion Fernando Alonso was ninth for McLaren ahead of Esteban Ocon of Force India.

Hamilton set his time using 'soft' tyres while all his rivals in the top ten clocked their best laps using 'super-soft' tyres, a feat that suggests the three-time world champion, who is seeking a record-equalling fifth British win, has plenty of performance in reserve.

The session was run in cool and overcast conditions, presenting a challenge to the teams to work warmth into their front tyres particularly.

In this respect, Mercedes looked to have mastered the challenge while Ferrari, who were running in new engines, appeared to be finding it more difficult.

In the conditions, it was surprising that there were no major incidents, but several drivers made unscheduled off-circuit excursions - the most spectacular delivered by Carlos Sainz in his Toro Rosso and later from Brazilian Massa, who had a big 'off' at Becketts.

"It was a bit of a mixed day, a bit up and down," said Vettel. "I don't really know. We haven't seen much yet. Yes, the new engine will help... but - well, it's fun to drive around here!"


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