Norris tops British GP practice but has 'more to find'

Lando Norris
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Lando Norris headed Oscar Piastri in a McLaren one-two in Friday practice at the British Grand Prix but said he had “more to find” before qualifying.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was an unfamiliar seventh fastest but digging down into the data from the session suggested he was on the pace as usual.

His team-mate Sergio Perez was third fastest, ahead of Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Mercedes’ George Russell completed the top 10.

Norris, who has competed for victory with Verstappen in the last three races and clashed with the Red Bull driver in Austria last weekend, said: “A good start to the weekend. Didn’t feel that comfortable this morning but we made some tweaks and got in a much nicer (set-up) window, which is important around here because it’s quite on the nose and quite sketchy and pretty high speed.

“I’m happy. We are pretty tight and even with the Mercedes. They seem just as quick as us - they just didn’t turn up the engine and do as much in the final runs.

“We are in a good place but we definitely have a little bit more to find.”

The final part of the session was hit by rain, and more wet weather is expected over the weekend.

“I wish the weather was a little bit better, but at least the rain held off for most of the day,” Norris said. “Trying to do my part and give a little bit back to (the fans).”

Verstappen, whose car has an upgraded floor this weekend, said: “On the soft it didn’t go so well. The medium looked a bit better.

“We tried a few things. We just have to analyse a bit what to do better for tomorrow. It will rain a bit so we will all have to take that into account.”

It was an unusual session, with some teams seeming to run different programmes from normal.

Verstappen, in particular, ran the soft tyres early in the session and then had an off-track moment in the Becketts complex when he tried a lower-fuel run later in the session.

The same fate befell Leclerc early on as he complained about the Ferrari’s instability in high-speed corners.

However, the race-simulation runs at the end of the session suggested that Verstappen and Norris are set for another close fight.

Verstappen appeared slightly the faster, but Norris was less than 0.1secs slower on average over a 12-lap run, with Leclerc 0.3secs or so slower.

On the soft tyre, Russell was fastest from Hamilton, and both had a significant advantage over Piastri and Sainz.

Norris also set the pace in the earlier first session, this time from Stroll, Piastri and Verstappen.

Russell, who inherited victory in Austria on Sunday after the clash between Verstappen and Norris, said: “This morning the car was feeling great. We struggled a little bit more this afternoon and we have to understand why. It got a little windier and I don’t think we nailed the tyres. Looks like we’re at a similar level of competitiveness to the last few races.”

Full practice results