Mercedes has sent a clear message to the rest of the Formula 1 field by finishing over 0.8 seconds ahead of next best finisher Nico Hulkenberg.

Lewis Hamilton narrowly led his teammate Nico Rosberg by under a tenth of a second as the pair finished comfortably ahead of Ferrari and Red Bull without using the soft compound tyre.

Sebastian Vettel’s best time on the softs saw him finish in fourth position albeit eight tenths off the pace. A further three tenths behind was Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo who outpaced his teammate Max Verstappen by four-tenths of a second while Kimi Raikkonen split the pair in sixth position.

After performing initial testing for the second version of the halo in Austria, Ferrari fitted the device to Vettel’s car in the first half of the session. The halo only completed one lap around Silverstone before Vettel returned to the pits to have it removed so he could continue on with his programme.

Sergio Perez finished eighth in the second Force India, while Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso rounded out the top 10.

Both Williams drivers finished further down the order, a regular occurence in the opening practice sessions, as Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa finished in 12th and 14th respectively with Daniil Kvyat and Jenson Button finishing ahead of the duo.

Charles Leclerc made his Formula 1 debut for Haas as he stepped in for Esteban Gutierrez for the first practice session. The Ferrari junior finished in 18th position over a second down to Romain Grosjean in 15th.

The other junior driver making an appearance in the session was Renault reserve driver Esteban Ocon who substituted for Kevin Magnussen. The GP3 champion ended his session a tenth behind Leclerc in 19th and was also a second down to his teammate Jolyon Palmer.

Image via XPB Images

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Josh Kruse

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