Alonso on top as Silverstone test gets underway


Fernando Alonso - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Fernando Alonso led the way on the opening day of the post-British Grand Prix test at Silverstone as weather once again played havoc at the circuit.

The morning’s running was primarily held in dry conditions, but the afternoon saw rain fall and gusts of wind, with the wind causing a red flag when it dislodged off the start-light gantry that hangs over the start/finish straight.

Luckily no car was on track at the time, but officials will be wary that something like this could happen at such a renowned track as Silverstone.

Alonso set his best time in the morning session, with the McLaren-Honda driver completing 105 laps and bettering his qualifying time from last weekend’s Grand Prix, although this time is misleading baring in mind he used the Supersoft Pirelli tyre, a compound that was not available to teams for the race.

Esteban Ocon switched from his reserve driver role at Renault to test for his parent team Mercedes, and completed a day high 123 laps in finishing second fastest, 1.543 seconds off Alonso’s pace but running a different programme to the Spaniard.

Three more young drivers filled positions three through five, with Williams Development Driver Alex Lynn ahead of Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Sahara Force India’s Nikita Mazepin, while the next best race driver Carlos Sainz Jr was sixth for Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Santino Ferrucci experienced his first taste of Formula 1 machinery on Tuesday, and finished seventh quickest for the Haas F1 Team, ahead of Pascal Wehrlein, who was running in a 2014 Mercedes testing 2017 Formula 1 tyres for Pirelli.

Wehrlein’s usual Manor Racing team-mate Rio Haryanto ended the day ninth ahead of Renault’s Sergey Sirotkin, while Pierre Gasly was at the bottom of the time sheets for Red Bull Racing, with most of his running coming in the wetter conditions of the afternoon.

Gasly became the third driver to test the Halo cockpit protection device in the morning session, with Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel the only other drivers to have experienced the new head protection device that is set to be introduced to Formula 1 in 2017.

Silverstone Test Day 1 Times

POSNO.DRIVERNATTEAMTIMELAPS
114Fernando AlonsoESPMcLaren-Honda1:31.290105
224Esteban OconFRAMercedes1:32.833123
341Alex LynnGBRWilliams-Mercedes1:34.43354
432Charles LeclercMONFerrari1:34.44619
534Nikita MazepinRUSForce India-Mercedes1:34.52135
655Carlos Sainz JrESPToro Rosso-Renault1:34.64391
751Santino FerrucciUSAHaas-Ferrari1:34.86655
894Pascal WehrleinGERMercedes1:34.98248
988Rio HaryantoINOManor-Mercedes1:35.63164
1046Sergey SirotkinRUSRenault1:36.57548
1115Pierre GaslyFRARed Bull-Tag Heuer1:43.89152