Valtteri Bottas finished the opening day of Practice at Silverstone top of the pile setting a laptime of 1:26.732s, with home-favourite Lewis Hamilton close behind. Meanwhile, Scuderia Ferrari kept close to the silver arrows on the timesheets – with Charles Leclerc leading the scarlet charge so far this weekend.
The pair of Mercedes AMG Petronas drivers were the class of the field on the opening day of the 2019 British Grand Prix, with Bottas edging the five-time world champion 0.069s. However, it wasn’t plain sailing for the Finn as a sparkplug issue caused him to miss some of the early race simulation runs.
In similar fashion, teammate Hamilton had a troublesome qualifying simulation, as the Brit was one of many drivers who were caught out by the gusts of win through chapel; including rival Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel finished the session well down on young teammate Charles Leclerc, with the Monegasque a quarter of a second clear of his more experienced teammate, as Ferrari look to be Mercedes’ closest challenger. Leclerc himself was only 0.197s away from Bottas’ session leading pace.
Pierre Gasly continued his resurgence for Red Bull Racing, as the Frenchman finished the session ahead of teammate Max Verstappen as the Dutchman struggled for grip around Silverstone’s high-speed corners. The Dutchman’s struggles were so much so that McLaren F1 Team‘s Lando Norris managed to get ahead of him and split the Red Bull’s – albeit eight tenths away from the leading pace.
Carlos Sainz Jr. struggled to match his younger teammate, however, the Spaniard illustrated the Woking outfits performance gains by finishing the session a creditable eighth, four tenths away from his teammate. Alexander Albon showed well at Silverstone, supporting his Formula 2 successes from twelve months ago by ending Friday in ninth for Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda, despite adding himself to the list of people caught out at Brooklands.
Sergio Pérez led the SportPesa Racing Point charge in tenth, just ahead of the second Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat in a tightly bunched midfield with Kevin Magnussen narrowly behind in the lead Rich Energy Haas F1 car.
Kimi Räikkönen bounced back from his Practice One struggles to finish the session thirteenth, comfortably ahead of younger teammate Antonio Giovinazzi who could only produce a lap good enough for seventeenth.While the Renault F1 pair had a horrendous day with Nico Hülkenberg narrowly behind Daniel Ricciardo as the Aussie was maligned by mechanical gremlins.
Lance Stroll had a relatively anonymous session as he finished sixteenth, however, his plight was far better than that of Romain Grosjean who was side-lined in the early stages of the session – before the Frenchman simoly struggled to find speed at Silverstone. This compounded his tough opening Practice session which saw him crash at the pit-exit.
Finally, Rokit Williams Racing continued to sit at the foot of the table with the Grove-squad continuing to struggle for speed. It was a more promising day for Robert Kubica who outpaced F1 Rookie George Russell. However, Russell was plagued by an apparent gearbox glitch which limited his running.