Felipe Massa’s struggles continue in qualifying (VIDEO)

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So far, Ferrari pilot Felipe Massa has had a trying British Grand Prix weekend after a crash in FP2 on Friday and now a failure to advance into Q3 during Saturday’s qualifying sessions at Silverstone.

Saturday was a sub-par afternoon all around for the Prancing Horse, which saw team leader Fernando Alonso only qualify tenth before advancing to ninth on the provisional grid following Paul di Resta’s relegation to the back of the field for Sunday. As for Massa, he’s now slated to start 11th on the inside of the sixth row alongside Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne.

The Brazilian racer has definitely hit a rough patch in recent weeks, and so far, Silverstone has not raised his fortunes. Robbed of valuable track time thanks to both his Friday crash and a pre-qualifying engine change early on Saturday, Massa was then forced to contend with a lack of grip on his car in qualifying.

He admitted afterwards that he may need track temperatures to rise on Sunday in order to have a chance at a solid points day.

“It was an extremely difficult day as we did not have the car we were expecting and we had no grip whatsoever with new tires,” Massa said. “Compared to other cars, we struggled to put together a good lap.

“…We must think about tomorrow, as the race is an altogether different matter, and I hope that, with a full fuel load and higher temperatures, things can change in our favor. If the car is more competitive, I’m sure I can pull off a few passing moves and fight for a good result.”

Massa has never hit the podium at Silverstone in ten career Formula One starts there.

Hartley happy with ‘big progression’ on first day with Toro Rosso

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With 69 laps completed (28 in free practice one and 41 in free practice two) and respectable lap times in both sessions, Brendon Hartley quickly acclimated to a modern day Formula 1 chassis in his first run with Scuderia Toro Rosso in Friday practice for the United States Grand Prix.

The Porsche factory driver has been drafted into the team following a convoluted series of musical chairs that sees Daniil Kvyat back after a two-race absence, Carlos Sainz Jr. now at Renault and Pierre Gasly racing at the Super Formula season finale in Suzuka.

Over the time in the car today, Hartley experienced changeable conditions in FP1 before a more normal FP2, and discovered the new F1 cockpit after a day learning in the garage yesterday.

“A steep learning curve today! It all went pretty smoothly and I kept the car on track without making too many mistakes, so I’m quite happy,” the New Zealander reflected at day’s end.

“I didn’t really know what to expect from today because I just had so much to learn! I think I made quite a big progression throughout the day.

“The biggest difference from what I’m used to is the high-speed grip, it’s incredible here in Formula 1…it was quite an eye-opener! Another challenge are the tires, which are also quite different to what I’m used to. On the other hand, the long-run looks quite positive and I did a good job managing the tires there – the biggest thing I need to work on now is the new tire pace, and I’ll get another crack at it tomorrow morning before qualifying.

“All in all, I’d say it’s all coming together. We’ll now work hard and go through plenty of data tonight and hopefully I’ll make another step forward tomorrow.”

His best lap was 1.1 seconds up on Friday driver Sean Gelael, the Indonesian Formula 2 driver, in FP1 (1:39.267 to 1:40.406, good enough for 14th) and 1.1 seconds off the returning Kvyat in FP2 (1:37.987 to 1:36.761, good enough for 17th). Interestingly, the Gelael/Hartley combination in FP1 marked the second time in three races that Toro Rosso had a pair of drivers in its cars without a single Grand Prix start between them – Gasly’s debut at Malaysia was the other, when he and Gelael were in in FP1.

Coming into Friday’s running, Hartley said he was more ready for this opportunity now than he had been as a teenager. He admitted he’d called Red Bull’s Helmut Marko in the wake of Porsche’s LMP1 withdrawal news earlier this year to say he was game for any chance that might come.

“I’m a lot stronger than I was back then, basically. I wasn’t ready at 18 years old. I like to think I’m ready now,” he said.

“I haven’t driven a single-seater since 2012, but I like to think that Porsche LMP1 has hopefully prepared me well.”

As for the rest of his weekend, it’s been made more complicated by Hartley being assessed a 25-spot grid penalty, even though Hartley had done nothing to accrue the penalties.

The roundabout sequence of driver changes at Toro Rosso saw Gasly replace Kvyat, Kvyat replace Sainz, and now Hartley replace Gasly, as is outlined by NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton below.