Stroll Fastest As Hulk Returns And Albon Crashes

Albon encouraged by Red Bull progress despite big crash

German Nico Hulkenberg meanwhile signed on as Stroll's stand-in team mate after a busy 24-hour period triggered by Mexican Sergio Perez becoming the first F1 driver to test positive for COVID-19.

For Stroll, who sits 8th in the championship standings after solid points finishes in Austria and Hungary, his effort was further evidence that the team is justifying its position of "best of the rest", as he topped the times from Red Bull's Alexander Albon (who suffered a late off track excursion), Valtteri Bottas and Charles Leclerc.

"So we've brought Simon back into the front line for the rest of the season, and hopefully that experience, that knowledge while we aggressively develop this vehicle will only help Alex, because you have to understand that every time he gets in the auto it's that little bit different and I think an experienced hand like Simon is definitely a positive for him".

"But it will be very different weather and conditions tomorrow". Otherwise as a vehicle it feels more balanced.

"The balance of my auto is not as good as I would like so we have some work to do tonight". Verstappen's time of 1:27.422s was a full seven-tenths faster than his teammate as Alex Albon finished fourth.

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"You often find around here when it gets a little bit windy the vehicle is gonna be a little bit tricky to drive", he said. "We will figure it out so it is not a disaster, but it has been a hard day".

"The last 24 hours have been a bit special, insane and wild, got the call 4.30pm yesterday afternoon, got the plane here, seat fitted until 2am, simulator for an hour at 8am this morning and prep work but all worthwhile, great effort from the team and want to thank the nightshift guys", said Hulkenberg. "The auto is massively quick". If it would have been 35 degrees today, I would still have been third.

Albon crashed in the afternoon but still ended up second overall with 0.09 seconds behind Stroll and played down the accident.

Asked byMotorsport com if his struggles were a tradition of missed out on track, time, Albon stated: "Yeah, I indicate it absolutely didn't assist".

"We've definitely made a step as a team". We expected worse, to be honest coming into Friday but the vehicle was hooked up straight away the first time we drove it in FP1. The heavy impact triggered the FIA sensor that saw the medical auto deployed but Albon was able to walk way from the crash, admitting he was caught by surprise how the vehicle snapped away. "The auto feels good". Six-time British GP victor Lewis Hamilton was next fastest on the charts, from Carlos Sainz and Hulkenberg as Pierre Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the top ten.

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