Lewis Hamilton’s quest for a fifth successive British Grand Prix victory kicked off in the style after the crowd favourite led a Mercedes 1-2 in the opening practice session at the Silverstone circuit.
Hamilton, who trails Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by one point in the Drivers’ Championship standings after retiring from last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, beat home teammate Valtteri Bottas by almost four-tenths of a second. Vettel finished a further half a second adrift, third-quickest overall in an action-packed 90-minute session.
Behind Vettel, Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo slotted himself ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Räikkönen. The 2007 World Champion’s session was not without drama, however, as the Finn looped his Ferrari into a spin at Brooklands. He was able to continue without damage and finished ahead of the second Red Bull Racing RB14 of Max Verstappen, who was forced to park his car on the start/finish straight with a suspected gearbox problem.
Silverstone’s high speed layout stretched the gap from the ‘big three’ teams back to the midfield, with Haas and Force India duking it out to claim ‘best of the rest’ honours among the midfield runners.
The Ferrari-powered Haas duo of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen appeared to have the upper hand on paper, although both drivers would have incident-filled sessions. Grosjean finished the session seventh-fastest, but ended his session in the barriers after crashing heavily at Turn 1 when his DRS appeared to jam open through the right-hander. The Frenchman was unhurt in the accident, although the same could not be said for his VF-18 chassis, which Team Principal Guenther Steiner confirmed would have to be replaced.
Teammate Magnussen finished fourteenth-fastest and was once again earning the ire of his fellow drivers for his lack of on-track manners. This time his complainant was McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who found himself all but run off the track by the Dane as the pair jostled for track position.
The Force Indias of Sergio Pérez and Esteban Ocon finished eighth and ninth fastest respectively, while Lance Stroll completed the top ten in an encouraging showing for the beleaguered Williams team. His rookie teammate Sergey Sirotkin had a spin at Club corner and finished the session slowest of all.
After scoring its first double points’ finish for over three years at last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, the Sauber team enjoyed a productive session with Marcus Ericsson eleventh-fastest and teammate Charles Leclerc thirteenth-fastest. The Swiss team’s drivers sandwiched the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly on the time sheets.
The two factory Renaults appeared off the pace, with Carlos Sainz fifteenth and teammate Nico Hülkenberg two spots behind. Renault customer team McLaren also got off to a slow start, with Stoffel Vandoorne sixteenth and teammate Alonso a poor 19th behind the second Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley.
Friday’s second practice session for the British Grand Prix gets underway at 14:00 local time (GMT +1).
Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and Sauber’s Charles Leclerc completed the top ten, although Leclerc’s session was disrupted in the final minutes when he stopped at the side of the circuit with an apparent Ferrari engine problem.
Friday’s second rpactice session gets underway at 14:00 local time (GMT +1).
|FORMULA 1 2018 ROLEX BRITISH GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 1 TIMES|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:27.487||24|
|2.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:27.854||+ 0.367||27|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:27.998||+ 0.511||22|
|4.||Daniel Ricciardo||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14||1:28.144||+ 0.657||30|
|5.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:28.218||+ 0.731||24|
|6.||Max Verstappen||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14||1:28.325||+ 0.838||24|
|7.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||1:29.352||+ 1.865||12|
|8.||Sergio Pérez||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:29.812||+ 2.325||23|
|9.||Esteban Ocon||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:29.815||+ 2.328||24|
|10.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:29.878||+ 2.391||25|
|11.||Marcus Ericsson||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:29.942||+ 2.455||25|
|12.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:30.004||+ 2.517||31|
|13.||Charles Leclerc||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:30.027||+ 2.540||27|
|14.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:30.065||+ 2.578||20|
|15.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||1:30.322||+ 2.835||19|
|16.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:30.358||+ 2.871||22|
|17.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:30.416||+ 2.929||25|
|18.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:30.701||+ 3.214||18|
|19.||Brendon Hartley||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:30.749||+ 3.262||31|
|20.||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:31.017||+ 3.530||22|
Image via Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team