Mercedes spent Friday practice for Formula 1’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix carrying out “experiments” as it once again dominated proceedings at Silverstone.

Valtteri Bottas pipped teammate Lewis Hamilton in opening practice, before Hamilton reversed the 1-2 in the afternoon by setting the fastest time of the day on the Medium compound.

But Mercedes made the most of running back-to-back races at Silverstone, and the data it had already gathered from the British Grand Prix, to focus its attentions elsewhere.

“We know a lot about this track and we were racing here last week, so a lot of the set-up stuff we don’t need to repeat, so we’ve been able to use that time for a few experiments,” explained trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin.

“Importantly, we’ve gone one step down on the tyre compounds, they are softer, so there’s a bit of work we need to do, particularly on that C4 compound.

“But it’s been a relatively straightforward day for us, we’ve learned what we need to, and one of the biggest questions is what is faster over a single lap, the C4 or the C3, they certainly look pretty close. We are going to take a look at that overnight.

“The car seems to be in a pretty good place as well and we’ve actually been able to save a little bit of mileage just because we don’t want to duplicate the work, so we have put a few less kilometres on the car than we might have usually.”

FP1 pacesetter Bottas was left encouraged after making improvements with the balance of his W11 following on from the British Grand Prix.

“We obviously learned quite a lot from last weekend in terms of set-up, so the starting set-up I had today was definitely better than what I had in qualifying or the race last weekend - that was the positive thing” the Finn said.

“We didn’t really have any issues in terms of balance, it was pretty much there but as for the tyres, they obviously don’t last as long and in these temperatures, these softer tyres are having quite a hard time, especially on high fuel.

“But still, to be honest, the Soft and the Medium have similar pace - I don’t think there’s much between those two compounds.”

Hamilton, who lapped 0.176s faster than Bottas on the C3 compound in the afternoon, added: “We had good understandings and findings from last week and I think made some small adjustments that cut off a millisecond here, a millisecond there, so it’s been positive in general. 

“We haven’t changed anything except for just the set-up, so just small minuscule things that we can really improve, we don’t have an upgrade, so it’s still the same car, it’s just finding other areas, I think we have today, it’s been positive.”

 

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