Valtteri Bottas has narrowly edged teammate Lewis Hamilton for top honours in the opening practice session of the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, with the Mercedes-AMG duo once again proving the class of the field.

The Finn marked the announcement of his 2021 contract extension with Mercedes with the fastest overall time of 1:26.166 posted on the Soft (C4) Pirelli rubber compound.  Bottas was over a second quicker than the time Max Verstappen posted in FP1 at the same circuit last week, although the Red Bull Racing driver was on harder C3 rubber at the time.

Hamilton was initially the faster of the two Mercedes drivers until Bottas’ better effort, but the gap to the rest of the field was once again significant.

Verstappen was ‘best of the rest’, over seven-tenths of a second slower than Bottas’ best lap and just five-hundredths quicker than the fourth-placed Racing Point Mercedes of stand-in driver Nico Hülkenberg.  The German’s presence in the cockpit of the RP20 was announced just hours before the session in the wake of regular driver Sergio Pérez’s continued diagnosis with the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

While Racing Point has been the subject of intense scrutiny in the wake of the sanctions handed down to it by the FIA, Hülkenberg quietly got on with the job and wound up almost six-tenths of a second quicker than teammate Lance Stroll who was eighth-fastest overall.

Between the pair came the Ferrari duo of Charler Leclerc (P5) and Sebastian Vettel (P7), who were themselves split by Red Bull Racing’s Alexander Albon – the Anglo-Thai driver complaining of understeer in his Honda-powered RB16.

Completing the top-ten was Daniil Kvyat in the AlphaTauri Honda and Esteban Ocon in the Renault – their respective teammates Pierre Gasly (P11) and Daniel Ricciardo (P17) had relatively mixed sessions.

With softer rubber on offer this weekend after last weekend’s race triggered a spate of puncture on harder tyres, several teams are understandably concerned about tyre wear.  Over at McLaren, this would definitely be the case, as neither Lando Norris (P12) nor Carlos Sainz Jr (P14) had the early pace the get into the top half of the timesheets.


EMIRATES FORMULA 1 70TH ANNIVERSARY GRAND PRIX 2020 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 1
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap Laps
1. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes-AMG F1 Team W11 1:26.166 21
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG F1 Team W11 1:26.304 + 0.138 23
3. Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing RB16 1:26.893 + 0.727 24
4. Nico Hülkenberg Racing Point Logo 2020 Racing Point F1 Team RP20 1:26.942 + 0.776 25
5. Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari SF1000 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:27.062 + 0.896 20
6. Alexander Albon Red Bull Racing RB16 1:27.280 + 1.114 22
7. Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari SF1000 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:27.498 + 1.332 21
8. Lance Stroll Racing Point Logo 2020 Racing Point F1 Team RP20 1:27.539 + 1.373 26
9. Daniil Kvyat Scuderia AlfaTauri Logo 2020 Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01 1:27.653 + 1.487 27
10. Esteban Ocon Renault F1 Team R.S.20 Renault Logo 2020 1:27.701 + 1.535 23
11. Pierre Gasly Scuderia AlfaTauri Logo 2020 Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01 1:27.707 + 1.541 23
12. Lando Norris McLaren Logo 2020 McLaren F1 Team MCL35 Renault Logo 2020 1:27.846 + 1.680 26
13. Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team Logo 2020 Haas F1 Team VF-20 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:27.908 + 1.742 26
14. Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren Logo 2020 McLaren F1 Team MCL35 Renault Logo 2020 1:28.138 + 1.972 28
15. George Russell Williams Racing Logo 2020 Williams Racing FW43 1:28.170 + 2.004 24
16. Nicholas Latifi Williams Racing Logo 2020 Williams Racing FW43 1:28.226 + 2.060 24
17. Daniel Ricciardo Renault F1 Team R.S.20 Renault Logo 2020 1:28.511 + 2.345 23
18. Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing Logo 2020 Alfa Romeo Racing C39 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:28.655 + 2.489 24
19. Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo Racing Logo 2020 Alfa Romeo Racing C39 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:28.960 + 2.794 22
20. Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team Logo 2020 Haas F1 Team VF-20 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:29.319 + 3.153 17

Image via Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

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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.
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