British F1 Grand Prix 2018 Qualifying: Sebastian Vettel Tops Mercedes Duo in FP2

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJuly 6, 2018

Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel drives during first practice at Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England, on July 6, 2018 ahead of the British Formula One Grand Prix. (Photo by Andrej ISAKOVIC / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel beat Lewis Hamilton to top spot in second practice at the British Grand Prix on Friday.

Vettel, who leads the Mercedes man by one point in the race for the world championship, posted a time of one minute, 27.552 seconds in the afternoon at Silverstone, 0.187 seconds clear of Hamilton. It was a day for Red Bull's Max Verstappen to forget, as he lost control of his car early in second practice and planted it into the wall.

Earlier in the day Hamilton had led home a Mercedes 1-2 in first practice.

Here's a look at how the first day of the Grand Prix played out at Silverstone, with qualifying to follow on Saturday and the race on Sunday.

FP2 Recap

These are the standing on Friday after second qualifying:

Formula 1 @F1

CLASSIFICATION (END OF FP2) Vettel leads the two Silver Arrows on a scorching Friday afternoon #BritishGP 🇬🇧 #F1 https://t.co/TUGZdCdZbW

Having endured a testing start to the day due to suspension and gearbox issues in the morning, Verstappen's run in FP2 was one of frustration. But this time it was the driver making the mistakes.

The youngster's session was curtailed early as he spun off the circuit and into the wall, leaving the car mangled and clearly not drivable. As noted by F1 journalist Will Buxton, it was quite a peculiar incident for the Red Bull driver:

Will Buxton @wbuxtonofficial

Verstappen caught too much of the Red Bull on exit of Luffield. Snapped back and pitched him into the wall. Not see anyone go off there, like that, in a good long time. Cars looking loose and tricky out there today. That's what we like.

Even so, after winning in Austria last week, Verstappen would've been hugely disappointed at his failure to carry further momentum into this race weekend.

Per motorsports writer Pablo Elizalde, it feels like the 20-year-old is either exceptional or awful at the moment:

Pablo Elizalde @EliGP

Verstappen modes switch: Win [ ] Crash [X]

"It's annoying," Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told Sky Sports (h/t BBC Sport). "It's as annoying as him for anyone, because he's missing out on track time, so he's relying on the feedback on the other car."

In the runs on the soft tyres Ferrari were able to show more than the morning, with Vettel having the edge on Hamilton before the drivers went on to long runs. Per Autosport Live, there wasn't much between the two leading teams on the drawn out stints:

Autosport Live @autosportlive

Bottas, on softs, is in the high 1m32s like Vettel at the start of his long run. #F1

Red Bull, meanwhile, have a lot of ground to make up on Mercedes and Ferrari. In addition to Verstappen's errors, Daniel Ricciardo struggled for pace, finishing fifth.


FP1 Recap

Here are the final standings from first practice at the British Grand Prix:

Formula 1 @F1

FP1 CLASSIFICATION (90/90 MINS): @MercedesAMGF1 lead the way #BritishGP 🇬🇧 #F1 https://t.co/KTOrDQ0vK3

With the sun shining at Silverstone, there were few issues for the drivers early on as they took things relatively easy. Some big names did run into trouble late on, though.

After finishing second on the podium in Austria, Kimi Raikkonen didn't have his best morning, as he was only able to muster the fifth-quickest time.

He also spun on the grass at Brooklands after a scruffy approach to the corner:

Channel 4 F1® @C4F1

Raikkonen has had an spin! 😲 Ben: "He used a lot of kerb. The back end broke away quite suddenly. It’s an unusual spin for Kimi. That’s a little bit of a surprise." 🎙 Luckily he kept the engine running and has managed to return to the track 👍 #C4F1 🇬🇧 #BritishGP https://t.co/eiagoHIiyK

Another strong performer in Austria was Haas' Romain Grosjean, as he finished fourth. However, he suffered a nasty smash at Abbey, crashing into the wall backwards.

That was the first of two virtual safety cars in the morning; the second was brought out for last week's winner Verstappen in the latter stages.

The Dutchman had been suffering with suspension woes early in the session, and then with the clock ticking down, his Red Bull ground to a halt along the home straight, eventually nestling up against the pit wall.

The 20-year-old immediately diagnosed the issue:

Formula 1 @F1

Verstappen has ground to a halt on the pit straight 📻 "I think I have a gearbox problem" #BritishGP 🇬🇧 #F1 https://t.co/2oBscsG8XN

Formula 1 @F1

A quick shortcut for Max as he heads back to the garage #BritishGP 🇬🇧 #F1 https://t.co/2HQPPBl9yr

Elsewhere, Mercedes showed an early edge over Ferrari around a track that should suit the Silver Arrows.

Hamilton was the class of the field in FP1, much to the delight of the fans in attendance. The Briton was 0.367 seconds clear of Bottas, while Vettel will need to show a lot more over the course of the weekend if his overall lead is to remain come Sunday.