Formula 1 Racing

What we learned from Friday practice at the 2024 F1 British GP

Verstappen might not have starred on the Friday timesheets, but Red Bull's pace cannot be denied

The opening day of track action at Formula 1’s 2024 British Grand Prix ended with a clean sweep of Friday practice sessions for McLaren, with Red Bull not troubling the top times.

Well, Sergio Perez was third fastest in FP2 to put the world champion squad second overall behind McLaren in that session, but his illustrious team-mate, Max Verstappen, was down in an unusual spot in seventh. Just like Perez in Austria five days ago, Verstappen even ended up beaten by Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg.

But, as ever in F1, and we do hope the championship’s Apple-produced film is going to somehow reflect this, the true reality of who is in contention is different to what the times alone suggest.

Because there were two key reasons why Verstappen was off the pace in FP2, plus the long-run times show things differently – and encouragingly for Red Bull. But, tantalisingly for F1 fans, McLaren is strong in these too.

Right now, it seems another box office Verstappen vs Norris contest is on the cards at Silverstone.

The story of the day

FP1 began with spots of rain falling on various parts of this giant ex-airfield venue – the day having begun with Silverstone getting a dousing of classic British weather – so the track took a while to rubber in. Norris led the way with a 1m27.420s, trailed by Lance Stroll’s 1m27.554s for Aston Martin.

Verstappen might not have starred on the Friday timesheets, but Red Bull’s pace cannot be denied

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The first session was only really notable for three other things: Yuki Tsunoda’s early spin and exit in the Luffield gravel that capped his lap total at five and left him at the foot of the times, Oscar Piastri coasting into the pits late on with what McLaren says was a fuel cell problem, and the four rookie appearances.

These were Ollie Bearman at Haas in place of Kevin Magnussen (with the 2025 Haas racer putting in the best rookie time at 1m28.536s, good enough for 14th), Jack Doohan driving Pierre Gasly’s Alpine, Franco Colapinto replacing Logan Sargeant at Williams and Isack Hadjar taking Perez’s RB20.

FP2 overall times  

POS Driver Team Time Gap
1 Norris      McLaren 1m26.549s  
2 Perez   Red Bull  1m26.549s   +0.434s
3 Hulkenberg Haas 1m26.990s +0.441s
4 Leclerc Ferrari 1m27.150s +0.601s
5 Hamilton Mercedes 1m27.202s +0.653s
6 Stroll Aston Martin    1m27.274s +0.725s
7 Bottas Sauber 1m27.381s +0.832s
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