Scotland’s Susie Wolff became the first woman to take part in a F1 race weekend for 22 years at the British Grand Prix.
Wolff, 31, took to the track in the Williams during FP1 in place of Valtteri Bottas. She unfortunately had to call time on her session after just four laps as the car developed an engine problem. She was still able to post a time of 1min 44.212secs but finished the session in 21st place, 8.788secs slower than the fastest time in FP1 by Nico Rosberg.
Britain’s Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time of the day in FP2 at 1min 34.508secs despite suffering an engine problem. He had to call time on FP2 before he was able to do a race simulation run after his car developed the fault shortly after leaving the pit lane. He was 0.228secs faster than teammate Rosberg with Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari the only other car within a second of the Mercedes.
The Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel were fourth and fifth respectively, just over one second behind Hamilton. Despite all their problems, Williams’ Bottas was sixth fastest with the McLaren’s of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnusson in seventh and eighth.
It was an eventful day at Silverstone for the thousands of British fans with several cars going of the track.
After their best result since Monaco 2005, Williams’ weekend could not have got off to a worse start. After Wolff parked her car at the side of the track in FP1, Felipe Massa lost control of his car at Stowe corner and hit the barrier. The 130mph crash left the team with a massive rebuild to get the car ready for FP2.
The session was red-flagged as a result with Massa’s car blocking part of the pit lane entry. Both Ricciardo and Rosberg were then under investigation by the stewards for overtaking under red flags but escaped punishment after the FIA announced in Austria that they were taking a more lenient approach.
In FP2, Williams’ bad luck continued. The team was able to fix Massa’s car on time to get him out after about 10 minutes of the session. He ended up in 11th place 2.163secs behind the Mercedes, a car they had been competing with just two weeks ago.
They were also able to solve the engine problem Wolff suffered in Bottas’ car to allow the Finn to finish sixth but not without incident. It appeared as if the left engine cover had not been bolted down properly after the repairs which allowed air to get under the bodywork and rip part of it off.
Torro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne also had to finish the session early after his left front wheel came loose. Vergne stopped just after turn one when something failed on the car and the wheel nearly came flying off. As the car came to a stop, it appeared as if the wheel nut fell off the car.
Rosberg was fastest from Hamilton by 0.731secs during FP1. Alonso’s Ferrari was best of the rest, 0.839secs behind Rosberg and 0.36secs ahead of Ricciardo’s Red Bull in fourth. Alonso’s teammate Raikkonen was fifth, 0.44secs behind Alonso. Vettel’s Red Bull was sixth, nearly 1.5secs behind the Mercedes with Button a further 0.042secs behind in seventh. The Torro Rosso’s of Daniil Kvyat and Vergne were eighth and ninth respectively with Magnussen’s McLaren in 10th.