With the sun out and track temperatures up the Mercedes morning advantage began to evaporate. It started before the session even got underway as Nico Rosberg’s car was up on blocks with the floor off and a gaggle of mechanics looking at the guts of the beast that was sitting first in the championship while Rosberg played some keepy-uppy in the paddock. Initially the problem was called a water issue but as he sat in and they fired up the car for the first time something still was not right and we did not see the championship leader at all this afternoon.
What we did see though was Red Bull take the fight to Ferrari and even Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes. Daniel Ricciardo’s fastest time was just four tenths off the Brit an Max Verstappen was another two tenths back. Once they got into the long running Red Bull were able to match Hamilton’s pace on the soft, putting in 1:37.7 average laps. Of course we don’t know the particulars of the fuel loads but it gave us a far more optimistic outlook for the race ahead.
Ferrari were next up, they did a lot of running on the mediums & hards and Sebastian Vettel wasn’t too far off the pace on his medium stint.
Behind them there were encouraging signs from McLaren, or Fernando Alonso at least, as he and the upgraded Honda power unit came in 6th for the session. Team-mate Jenson Button suffered some overheating problems that really hampered his long running but after they bolted on the soft tyres he too impressed and was 9th fastest.
Also impressing was the Manor of Pascal Wehrlein, who came in 13th and vastly out paced his team-mate on his first day around Silverstone.
Towards the back of the grid Daniil Kvyat had another tricky day, spinning off at Abbey and having an excursion around the edges of most corners as he got on the radio and used some colourful language to express his feelings about the car beneath him.
Still, the day belongd to the home-town hero Lewis Hamilton as he ended the second practice session the fastest of all, while some of his data will be shared with Nico Rosberg he certainly has an advantage going into qualifying tomorrow.