Felipe Massa was relieved to enjoy a ‘normal’ day at the office in Silverstone on Friday – in marked contrast to the troubles that the Williams team experienced in free practice a week ago.
“It was a normal Friday, with no problems related to what we had in Austria,” reported Massa. “Everything was working in the normal way and I was happy with the balance of the car.
“We were able to get [the tyres] working on the first lap. Everything with the car felt normal. The car feels competitive in the way it should be. So on the whole it was a good Friday.”
However, both Massa and his team mate Lance Stroll did suffer damage to their cars in FP1 after running wide at Copse.
“Unfortunately, we damaged some parts on both cars because of hitting the kerb at turn 9,” said the team’s chief technical officer Paddy Lowe. “So that lost us a few laps with both Felipe and Lance.
“In FP2 we were able to complete all of our running on the different tyres. The pace looks encouraging on both low and high fuel.”
Massa did find himself under investigation by the race stewards for an incident that took place near the end of afternoon practice.
The Brazilian driver was seen to slow between Vale and Club to make room for a flying lap. It caught out Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who almost lost his front wing on the back of the Williams.
The stewards subsequently confirmed that an investigation would be held into “alleged impeding by car 19 (Massa) on car 33 (Verstappen) in turns 16 to 19”.
However, the officials later decided that no further action was required.
“The stewards, having examined video evidence, conclude that no further action is warranted,” said a brief statement issued by the panel.
“My engineer told me he was on the outlap, then I had a lot of traffic in front,” Massa explained. “That’s why I backed off. He was on his outlap so there’s was no reason for him too. He just pushed on the exit and tried to pass me.”
By contrast with Massa’s eventful day, Stroll had a more straightforward time going about his business learning the classic Silverstone circuit.
“This is a great track to drive. The grip is high and the car is a lot of fun around here,” he said. “The car feels more competitive than in Austria. We have improved the balance since then, which is positive looking at what Felipe did.”
“For Lance, Silverstone is one of the more difficult circuits to learn,” Lowe pointed out. “But we’re pleased with the progress that he’s been able to make throughout the day.
“Qualifying is what matters though, so we’ll see what more we can do overnight.”
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