Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly set the pace during the first practice session for this weekends British Grand Prix. The Frenchman was four and a half tenths faster than the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas with his teammate Max Verstappen third.
Gasly moved ahead of the Finn late in the session going fastest on his final run to push the Mercedes down, after the mixed weather. That put him ahead, a much-needed boost following his difficult first half of the season. Teammate Verstappen third eight tenths off the pace.
Lewis Hamilton was fourth fastest, the Mercedes driver set the early pace along with Valtteri Bottas, before they were pushed down the order. The Finn looked to be the more comfortable driver, on the soft tyres as many were caught out by the conditions.
The circuit was resurfaced again this year, following draining issues at last years Moto GP British Grand Prix, but the drivers found it difficult to find grip. That was not helped by a mid-session shower of rain.
Haas’s Romain Grosjean was the first casualty of the weekend, he crashed into the pit lane on his out lap, breaking his car’s front wing in the process, before later spinning into the grass at Brooklands.
Hamilton, Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris and George Russell also had off-course moments, while Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo ran into a suspected engine fault and stopped on track. None of the spins proved to be dramatic.
Raikkonen’s car showed a puff of smoke as he rounded Brooklands slowly, with the car appearing to have stuttered and then cut out down the Wellington Straight.
Ferrari couldn’t show much pace, Charles Leclerc putting in a late improvement to go fifth, half a second ahead of his teammate Sebastian Vettel. While the Renault’s of Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo were seventh and eighth. Albon and Sainz completed the top ten.
McLaren had a low key morning, Sainz tenth just a hundredth faster than his teammate Lando Norris. Something of a low key start given McLarens recent form, with them regularly challenging Renault. The Englishman holding onto the position despite a spin at Club.
Although recent progress stalled in Austria, Renault’s season has otherwise been on the up since Spain and the team are expecting the fast sweeps of Silverstone to better suit their 2019 car.
Sergio Perez was twelveth two tenths up on teammate Lance Stroll, the pair split by the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.