In the second and final practice session of the weekend, Max Verstappen topped the times in the dominant Red Bull, ahead of the two Ferrari's of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, as the drivers get ready for the first-ever F1 sprint race this afternoon.
As the final practice of the weekend commenced, many teams used the opportunity to firm up their setup for this afternoon's Sprint Race, with a multitude of drivers donning the harder compound of tires in the 29-degree British summer heat. A few drivers also elected to use the softer medium compound tire as they may be seen as the tire of choice for the rest of the weekend.
The early benchmark time was set by Esteban Ocon, who despite having a new chassis for the weekend, could only manage a Q2 finish for the Sprint Race. The Frenchman set a 1:32.220, which was a full five seconds off yesterday's qualifying pace.
Getting up to speed
Breaking the mold was Lando Norris, who chose to use the soft compound of tires early in the session, a decision later taken by the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Williams of George Russell, showing some real variety across the paddock.
Before long, the Red Bulls began to show their horns, with both cars occupying the top two spots. Max Verstappen managed to secure a time of 1:30.4 on the medium compound of tire, with teammate Sergio Perez 0.6 behind the Dutchman.
The real surprise of the session as it ticked towards the halfway point was the Haas of Nikita Mazepin sitting in fifth place. This may have been down to the run plan of other teams, given that the Russian was still two seconds behind the Red Bull, suggesting that that may have been the limit of the underdeveloped Haas. This was a fact that became apparent quickly, with Mazepin falling down the order quickly, dropping four places in as many minutes.
As the session hit the halfway point, the two Red Bull cars were joined by the two Alpha Tauri cars, demonstrating the Red Bull supremacy in this session, with all cars being within 1.2 seconds of one another, from Verstappen to fourth place Yuki Tsunoda.
Battle of the laps
With 20 minutes remaining in the session, the majority of cars began to transition across to the two softer compounds of tires, with only Pierre Gasly and Valtteri Bottas still running on the hard tires. As a result, lap times dropped below 1:30:00 for the first time in the session, with Verstappen setting a 1:29.902.
The Two Ferrari drivers, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc managed to rack up the second most laps of any team, with the drivers on a combined 53 laps as the session reached the final ten minutes. Leclerc will be more than happy with his fourth position start for the Sprint Race this afternoon, however, Sainz left a little to be desired, after being beaten on pace by the home favorite George Russell, as the Spaniard starts in ninth.
The team with the most laps in the final session were Aston Martin, with Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll racking up a combined 58 laps. Aston Martin showed some promise in qualifying yesterday, with Vettel making an appearance in Q3. However, much like Ferrari, the second driver will be looking to make up some pace during the race.