McLaren dominates, Nico Hülkenberg surprises with P4

McLaren ended the first day of Formula 1 training at its home race in Silverstone with an announcement. Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri ensured a one-two lead. Their first pursuers were not the usual suspects. Sergio Perez was the best Red Bull, and Nico Hülkenberg was surprisingly far ahead.

The result: Norris was among the last to run his qualifying simulations in the second practice session. With the best times in all sectors and a 1:26.549, he was more than three tenths ahead of the rest of the Formula 1 drivers. Oscar Piastri completed the perfect McLaren team performance with P2 – despite a respectable gap.

Sergio Perez only managed to grab P3 25 minutes before the end. He was only 7 thousandths faster than a strong Nico Hülkenberg, who was right up there with the Haas. Perez’s time only came after he had switched to a second set of new soft tires.

Only Red Bull used this strategy in FP2, all the others stuck with a soft shot. Max Verstappen therefore went out for the first attempt after just 12 minutes. That was to remain his best. Because on his second attempt at the halfway point of training, he lost the rear of his car when switching from Becketts to Chapel, had to go through the run-off area and aborted the attempt.

Charles Leclerc also made a mistake on his best lap, but not as seriously. That was enough for P5 ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen came in second, already 0.684 seconds behind. Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll moved ahead of George Russell. Mercedes remained unnoticed.

Fernando Alonso missed out on the top 10 by 78 thousandths. Behind him, Valtteri Bottas delivered a solid performance in the best Sauber. At Williams, Alpine and the Racing Bulls, both drivers were already clearly lacking time. Kevin Magnussen came last after he messed up on his only soft attempt.

The weather: It had rained lightly during the lunch break. When training started, it was dry again, but with heavy cloud cover and rain approaching. That meant air temperature of 18 degrees and track temperature of 30 degrees. The weather held for 55 minutes. It was only during the long runs in the last five minutes that another shower started, but it had no significant impact. Just that everyone finished five minutes earlier. A handful of drivers did a final lap on intermediates.

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