Lewis Hamilton was fastest in the first practice for this weekends British Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver was in fine form ahead of his teammate Valtteri Bottas by three-tenths of a second with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel third.
The Englishman is looking to set new records this weekend and bounce back from his engine failure in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, by taking a victory and become the most successful driver at Silverstone. Hamilton was over a second and a half faster than he was at the same point last year.
His teammate Bottas was a tenth faster than Vettel, with the Silver Arrows finding most of the times in the first two sectors. Mercedes have been unbeaten in Northamptonshire for the past six years, with Hamilton being unbeaten since 2014.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo managed to split the Ferrari’s going fourth fastest, going narrowly faster than Kimi Raikkonen.
Max Verstappen was the slowest of the top six, however, the Dutchman only used the medium tyres. It wasn’t plain sailing either, as he suffered a gearbox issue and was told not to change gears and stop the car, which he did up against the pitwall on the inside of the track.
That triggered another VSC as Verstappen’s car was wheeled through a gap in the pitwall.
Haas’s Romain Grosjean was best of the rest in seventh, it wasn’t plain sailing as he spun off at Abbey. The Frenchman had been following the example set by the top six, using full throttle through the corner. As he went through the corner, he lost control of the car and crashed.
Force India’s Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were eighth and ninth with Lance Stroll rounding off the top ten. Williams upgrades certainly delivering the step up the team needed ahead of their home race. But Stroll’s teammate Sergey Sirotkin was slowest of all after spinning at Club.
Hopes off a good start to the weekend following a difficult week off track for McLaren, which seen racing director Eric Boullier resign, didn’t come with the teams’ upgrades failing to deliver. Fernando Alonso only fifteenth and Stoffel Vandoorne seventeenth.
It was frustrating for Alonso, he spent much of the session without a lap time to his name and went off-track exiting the Maggots/Becketts complex on his first flying lap before reeling off several personal bests.