Lewis Hamilton topped the first practice session of the weekend at Silverstone, just three hundredths of a second ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg, but with a comfortable lead on the rest of the field.
Hamilton set a time of 1:31.654, which was incidentally faster than last year’s pole time at the British Grand Prix of 1:32.248, on the medium compound tyres. There was not much to choose between the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS duo, but Hamilton just edged out Rosberg to take the top spot. The German however, experienced some technical issues at the end of practice, reporting problems with ERS deployment over team radio, after initially receiving a message on his dashboard that said “fuel use high”.
Nico Hulkenberg was a superb third in the Sahara Force India, who once again looked on the money this weekend. The Silverstone based team have brought some upgrades along for the British Grand Prix, and so far they appear to be doing their job. The German set his time on the soft tyres.
Sebastian Vettel, who was trialling the second version of the halo cockpit protection system on the Scuderia Ferrari during the early part of FP1, was fourth on the soft tyres. The German completed an installation lap with a lighter and re-modelled version of the original Halo that appeared at pre-season testing in Barcelona earlier this year, before concentrating on his own running. Vettel was nearly a second off the pace of the Mercedes and problems emerging with his gearbox at the very end of the session, will not have filled the German with great confidence for the rest of the weekend.
Daniel Ricciardo was fifth in the first of the Red Bull Racing cars, though his time was set on the medium tyre, a harder compound than the two men ahead of him in the order. The Australian was just in front of the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, who was the meat in a Red Bull sandwich, as Max Verstappen took seventh spot in the order.
Sergio Perez was eighth in the second Force India and surprisingly seven tenths down on his team-mate, but ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr in the first of the Scuderia Toro Rosso cars. The Spaniard was one tenth up on fellow countryman Fernando Alonso in the first of the McLaren-Honda F1 cars.
Alonso and team-mate Jenson Button had looked competitive out on track during the early part of the session, though ended FP1 lower down the order, with the Brit finishing in twelfth. Having been given an engine upgrade by Honda this weekend, will we see that update boost their performance across the weekend?
Daniil Kvyat was eleventh, ahead of Button and Valtteri Bottas, who was the first of the Williams Martini Racing team runners, was thirteenth. The Finn, along with team-mate Felipe Massa who was one place behind him in fourteenth, concentrated on power unit work and basic set-up in the first practice session of the weekend. Both Williams’s drivers looked to have a bit of rear instability in the FW38 as they went through the corners today.
Romain Grosjean took fifteenth in the first of the Haas F1 Team cars, with the squad rumoured to be receiving the upgraded Ferrari engine this weekend. The Frenchman was ahead of Jolyon Palmer for the Renault Sport F1 team, the Brit experiencing his first home grand prix as a F1 driver this weekend.
Felipe Nasr was seventeenth for the Sauber F1 Team who once again looked off the pace during the FP1 session. Having confirmed yesterday that they would not be taking part in the in-season test that follows the British Grand Prix, the Swiss squad look set to stay rooted to the bottom of the constructor’s championship for a while yet.
Current GP3 leader Charles Leclerc, who was driving for the Haas F1 team in place of Esteban Gutierrez during the FP1 session, was eighteenth, and the Monagasque put in an impressive performance on his debut in F1 machinery. The odd spin or slide showed just how much Leclerc was willing to push the VR16, the youth seemingly knows no fear! The 18-year-old was also fastest in the speed trap, at 322 km/h.
Esteban Ocon, who replaced Kevin Magnussen in the Renault Sport F1 this morning, finished in nineteenth place, in what was the Frenchman’s second outing in a F1 car, having also taken part in practice for Renault in Spain earlier this season. The Frenchman also took the session in his stride, and looked every bit the part out there.
Marcus Ericsson finished twentieth in the second Sauber. The Swede did not take to the track to complete a timed lap until there was just fifteen minutes of the session remaining however. That allowed him to jump ahead of the two Manor Racing Team cars of Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto though, who completed the field.
Silverstone Free Practice 1 Result
[table id=1240 /]