The fourth race weekend of the season is officially underway at the iconic Silverstone Circuit, and Max Verstappen has asserted his dominance by topping the timesheets in the first practice session of the 2020 British Grand Prix.
Big news emerged in the hours leading up to the session with former F1 driver Nico Hülkenberg confirmed to replace BWT Racing Point’s Sergio Pérez after it was announced that the Mexican tested positive for COVID-19 late Thursday evening.
Prior to the weekend, race director Michael Masi was keen to declare the FIA would be clamping down on track-limits abuse after controversy in both Austria and Hungary. Any driver that exceeds the notorious black and white kerbs of Silverstone will have their laps invalidated and deleted, with more severe punishments being reserved for multiple offences.
The tyres for this race are slightly harder than the opening triple-header in Austria and Hungary, and so the teams will be utilising Pirelli’s C1, C2, and C3 compounds. At the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix one week later (also at Silverstone), these compounds will be ditched altogether; the teams will revert back to the C2, C3 and C4 compounds for added variety within strategies.
Free Practice 1 began at 11:00 AM BST with a slow start as the drivers familiarised themselves with the challenging and technical track . Gradually, it evolved to host the majority of the setup-runs in preparation for Sunday’s fifty-two lap outing.
Home hero Lewis Hamilton was the first out on track for Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team.
Both Alfa Romeo driver had struggles early on, with Kimi Räikkönen spinning and Antonio Giovinazzi following suit shortly after; the latter bringing out the red flag after leaving debris on track.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel did not set a lap time in the session after inter-cooler problems prevented him from getting out on track.
Verstappen set the fastest lap of the session with a 1:27.422 on the soft compound tyres, with Hamilton in second 0.474 seconds behind him, and Lance Stroll continued to show good pace as he completed the top three finishing 0.096 seconds behind Hamilton.
Notably, Alexander Albon was 0.707 seconds slower than his team-mate on the same tyre compound, indicating the Thai-British driver’s lack of pace this weekend. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc completed the only running for his team finishing just 0.092 seconds slower than Albon on the medium compound.
|1||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||1:27.422||N/A||27|
|2||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:27.896||+0.474||27|
|3||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||BWT Racing Point Formula One Team||1:28.004||+0.582||22|
|4||23||Alexander Albon||THA||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||1:28.129||+0.707||24|
|5||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1:28.221||+0.799||22|
|6||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:28.519||+1.097||29|
|7||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Renault DP World F1 Team||1:28.559||+1.137||26|
|8||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Renault DP World F1 Team||1:28.575||+1.153||22|
|9||27||Nico Hülkenberg||GER||BWT Racing Point Formula One Team||1:28.592||+1.170||23|
|10||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:28.868||+1.446||21|
|11||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:28.909||+1.487||24|
|12||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||ESP||McLaren F1 Team||1:28.988||+1.566||24|
|13||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||1:28.990||+1.568||22|
|14||20||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||Haas F1 Team||1:29.532||+2.11||23|
|15||8||Romain Grosjean||FRA||Haas F1 Team||1:29.576||+2.154||25|
|16||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing||1:29.746||+2.324||24|
|17||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||1:29.899||+2.477||23|
|18||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing||1:29.925||+2.503||17|
|19||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||1:30.703||+3.281||20|
|20||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Scuderia Ferrari||N/A||N/A||2|