Lewis Hamilton 15th in practice for British GP as Max Verstappen dominates again

Lewis Hamilton 15th in practice for British GP as Max Verstappen dominates again

Lewis Hamilton finished only 15th in practice on a troubling day for the home favourite at the British Grand Prix.

As a dominant Max Verstappen carried over his crushing form to a sizzling Silverstone by completing an ominous practice double, Hamilton’s Mercedes team laboured in the heat.

Hamilton finished 12th in the opening running, and then ended the day three places further back, 1.2 seconds adrift of Verstappen.

Fellow Briton George Russell was a few places better off in 12th in the other Mercedes.

Carlos Sainz took second for Ferrari, 0.022 sec behind Verstappen, with Alex Albon an impressive third in his Williams. Red Bull’s Sergio Perez finished fourth, with Albon’s Williams team-mate Logan Sargeant fifth.

Verstappen, a winner at seven of the opening nine rounds of a one-sided campaign, has already established a commanding 81-point lead in his pursuit of a hat-trick of world championships.

British Grand Prix 2023 – Practice Day – Silverstone
Max Verstappen was in fine form again at Silverstone (Bradley Collyer/PA)

The Dutch driver cruised to the chequered flag a week ago at Red Bull’s home race in Austria, and he will head into the remainder of the weekend as the driver to beat following an emphatic start at Silverstone.

Hamilton has won seven of the last 10 races staged here, but the Mercedes man will have to upset the odds to add to his tally on Sunday.

Hamilton has a new front wing as Mercedes hope to claw back the deficit to their rivals. But their star driver was on the radio complaining about the bouncing his machine was suffering from, while Russell was also on the intercom to bemoan his unruly Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton struggled in practice for his home grand prix (David Davies/PA)

“I have no grip,” reported Russell. “The car is sliding all over the place.”

Moments after stepping out of his Mercedes, Hamilton said: “We are battling the same thing.

“It is a tough car to drive. No matter what we do with the setup it continues to be a tough car to drive.

“On a single lap, I did not feel an improvement between the different tyres so that shows something is wrong and we are missing something.”

Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton finished 15th in second practice at the British Grand Prix (David Davies/PA)

Russell added: “It was definitely not our finest Friday, We need to get to the bottom of it.

“In second practice, we were nowhere so we need to try and understand that.”

Hamilton is in the midst of another up-and-down campaign. He arrived at the last round in Spielberg following consecutive podium finishes, but Mercedes struggled at the Red Bull Ring.

Hamilton crossed the line in seventh and was demoted to eighth following a second timed penalty, and on the evidence of practice, he may be braced for another underwhelming weekend.

Despite the threat of action from Just Stop Oil protesters, both practice sessions passed off without incident.

However, F1 bosses, Silverstone and Northamptonshire Police remain on high alert that a protest could yet disrupt qualifying on Saturday and Sunday’s 52-lap race where 150,000 spectators are expected to attend.

Facial recognition cameras have been set up around the 3.66 mile track in a move to foil any potential plot.

Elsewhere, Lando Norris was only 14th for McLaren, while Charles Leclerc finished rooted to the bottom of the order.

The Monegasque was ruled out of the second running with an electrical failure on his Ferrari.