Daniel Ricciardo optimistic at Silverstone, Carlos Sainz fastest

Carlos Sainz edged hometown hero Lewis Hamilton to beat Ferrari’s times in Friday’s second practice at the British Grand Prix, edging rival Mercedes by just over a tenth of a second in the wet and windy weather.

Daniel Ricciardo was only ninth quickest but was optimistic about his chances heading into the weekend after a promising afternoon session for McLaren.

His teammate Lando Norris showed strong pace to go third, only 0.176 seconds slower than Sainz.

Ricciardo was almost a second slower than the Ferrari driver but said it was his fault that he didn’t do a good one-lap lap rather than a genuine lack of pace.

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Daniel Ricciardo was optimistic about his chances heading into the weekend.Source: Getty Images

“We went out, we had a little fun,” Ricciardo said. “With the hard (tyre) it looked good and then with the soft one I didn’t really have the best lap around the world.

“But I think we’re in a decent position considering, then looking at Lando, we look like we’re in a decent position.

“It’s early, obviously we only have one session, but for the only dry session of the day, I think it’s okay.”

He added: “I’m optimistic we can do well tomorrow.”

Meanwhile Sainz, setting his first lap since the Australian Grand Prix in April, clocked a best lap of one minute and 28.952 seconds to beat seven-time champion Hamilton, who appeared to have regained his verve, by 0.163 seconds.

It was an uplifting day for Sainz, who was frustrated two weeks ago in Canada where he was the fastest in the race, but unable to pass Max Verstappen’s Red Bull to win.

“We expect to be competitive at every circuit and hope to do well here,” Sainz said. “I expect it because the car is a very competitive car, like the Red Bull is, like the Merc is when there are a little less bumps, and there are a little more speed !

“So yeah, I think we all knew going into this weekend that it was going to be a close battle and again it looks like it’s the same here.”

Norris in third to world champion and series leader Max Verstappen of Red Bull and Charles Leclerc in second Ferrari.

“It was a tricky day and we had some problems on my end,” said Leclerc, who won six pole positions this year.

“Hopefully we have a cleaner day tomorrow and things go as planned.”

Carlos Sainz eclipsed local hero Lewis Hamilton to top Ferrari’s times.Source: Getty Images

– ‘A little tricky’ –

After an unimpressive day for Red Bull, Verstappen remained confident of finding the improvement he needed to get back to the front.

“It’s always a bit tricky, of course, after not riding in FP1, then FP2 becomes a bit of a guesswork, let’s put it that way. Whereas normally in FP1 you just build it,” said the 24-year-old Dutchman, who leads the title race ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez by 46 points with Leclerc third and adrift by 49.

“Maybe it wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t a big deal either. I think we know what we need to work on and that’s what we’re going to try to do overnight. But , again, tomorrow it will probably rain, so you have different kinds of conditions again.

“This time probably wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t really bad either, you know. We’re still in there and we still have a few things to look at, you know, with the tires as well.”

Verstappen has won six of nine races this year, including five of the last six, and arrived at Silverstone as favorite to continue his hot streak.

Double champion Fernando Alonso finished sixth for Alpine ahead of Sergio Perez in second Red Bull, George Russell in second Mercedes, Ricciardo and Lance Stroll of Aston Martin.

For Hamilton, who lost a piece of his car’s bodywork in the final minutes, it was a solid display of his and Mercedes’ potential at their home circuit.

After a beleaguered week in which he rebutted offensive comments from various critics, including a vulgar attack from Nelson Piquet, this was a classic “on track” response from Hamilton.

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