Daniel Ricciardo survived the soaked conditions to post the fastest time in the opening practice session for the British Grand Prix

Daniel Ricciardo has set the pace – if you dare to call it that – in a rain-affected opening practice session for this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

In typically British ‘summer’ conditions, the Australian navigated his Toro Rosso around the former airfield circuit with a fastest time of 1:54.249, set in the closing minutes of play, while half the field didn’t even attempt to post a lap-time.

With official tyre supplier Pirelli bringing a prototype version of its Hard compound tyres for the teams to try out on Friday, Murphy’s Law struck once again when the heavens opened on Friday morning, lashing the venue with a sequence of rain showers.

Conditions remained too wet for any dry-tyre running, consigning the field to the odd exploratory lap on the Wet compound Pirellis.

Indeed, it wasn’t until the final fifteen minutes of the ninety-minute session that the timing screens clocked a completed lap, with Ricciardo setting the benchmark of 2:00.029, steadily lowering that effort over the remainder of his run.

His time at the top was briefly interrupted by Lewis Hamilton, but the Englishman was overhauled in the dying minutes by Sauber’s Nico Hülkenberg and Williams’ Pastor Maldonado, before Ricciardo took to the top one last time.

Behind the leading quartet came Esteban Gutiérrez in the second Sauber. The Mexican was lucky to avoid a sizeable accident on his final run, courtesy of a wild moment at Copse.

Valtteri Bottas was sixth-quickest in the second Williams, while Jean-Éric Vergne and Giedo van der Garde followed, with Max Chilton, Jules Bianchi and Felipe Massa being the final runners to record lap times.

The only major incident of note came in the final minutes of the session, with Charles Pic losing control of his Caterham on the approach to the final corner, knocking off his front wing against the barriers.

Friday afternoon’s second free practice session kicks off at 2:00pm local time.

2013 British Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:54.249   10
2. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Sauber Ferrari C32 1:55.033 + 0.784 7
3. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW35 1:55.354 + 1.105 7
4. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:55.458 + 1.209 5
5. Esteban Gutiérrez MEX Sauber Ferrari C32 1:55.825 + 1.576 9
6. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams Renault FW35 1:56.361 + 2.112 7
7. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:57.891 + 3.642 4
8. Giedo van der Garde NED Caterham Renault CT03 1:58.859 + 4.610 6
9. Max Chilton GBR Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:59.719 + 5.470 7
10. Jules Bianchi FRA Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:59.876 + 5.627 8
11. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F138 2:06.534 + 12.285 6
12. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 no time 3
13. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM06 no time 4
14. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E21 no time 1
15. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 no time 1
16. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM06 no time 4
17. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F138 no time   4
18. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 no time 1
19. Sergio Pérez MEX McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 no time 1
20. Charles Pic FRA Caterham Renault CT03 no time 3
21. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 no time 4
22. Kimi Räikkönen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E21 no time   0

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.