New track causes havoc on F1 practice day

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Racing Driver Romain Grosjean
Racing Driver Romain Grosjean

The opening day of the British grand prix weekend was a difficult affair for all 20 Formula One drivers.

Silverstone Circuit was completely resurfaced ahead of tomorrow’s race and the result was little to no grip available for the drivers.

The first incident came on Friday from Romain Grosjean in the morning session as he suffered a freak crash in the pit lane. With cold tyres and no grip, his Haas couldn’t stick to the road and the Frenchman was sent spinning into the wall as he exited the pit lane, smashing the front of his car.

He was forced to complete a lap with no front wing, with pieces of debris being flung all over the track.

But he wasn’t the only driver in trouble as even the world champions struggled to keep their cars on the track.

Five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton found himself skating off the road, while 2007 champion Kimi Räikkönen ground to a sudden halt thanks to a blown engine.

Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly set a blistering lap time to finish the session fastest of all, a clear four tenths ahead of both Mercedes – a result nobody was expecting.

Teams and drivers hoped they would fare better in the afternoon session with the extra grip building up throughout the day, however, there were still plenty of issues for them to contend with.

Despite sliding across the grass run-off area late in second practice, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was the closest rival to the Mercedes duo as they regained their place at the top of the standings.

It wasn’t plain-sailing though as Hamilton suffered another off-track excursion on his way to finishing the session in second place, 0.069 seconds behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Renault endured a trying afternoon as Nico Hülkenberg couldn’t complete a clean lap thanks to the difficult conditions, while Daniel Ricciardo was forced to pull over with an engine issue, ending his day 15 minutes early.

With qualifiers coming up this afternoon, the chaotic practice sessions look set to deliver a closely matched grid.

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