After the drama of the last few weeks, the title race between the young Belgian Max Verstappen and the experienced Lewis Hamilton has certainly heated up with both drivers and teams delivering blows to each other on Social Media, Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team’s statement on the failed review from Red Bull Racing of Lewis Hamilton’s penalty from the British Grand Prix certainly added more heat to a title battle this season that could potentially be one for the ages.
However, once both drivers were back on track at a circuit in which Hamilton tends to go extremely well at – (even managing to take a win at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix in a McLaren which should not of been near the top step of the podium) it was Verstappen who dealt the first blow out on track finishing 0.061 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas and 0.167 seconds of title rival Hamilton who was down in third.
It was a practice session full of plenty of incidents, Fernando Alonso had a spin early on in the session, Mick Schumacher ran wide at the same sweeping left hander of Turn 4 and most dramatically, Yuki Tsunoda – who would’ve been hoping for a quiet weekend incidents wise after a tricky couple of Grand Prix weekends crashed which brought out the red flag.
Even though he was down in third place, the lap set by Lewis Hamilton was on a used pair of soft tyres, which suggests that this weekend could be another close one with the momentum in the title fight having potentially swung Lewis Hamilton’s way.
Perhaps the surprise of the session was Sergio Pérez who finished the session down in eighth, almost a second off team-mate Verstappen and the Mexican will no doubt be looking to find that performance after a tricky weekend at Silverstone.
On the back of their strong weekend at Silverstone, Scuderia Ferrari started on the front foot on Friday, with Carlos Sainz Jr. fourth and Charles Leclerc seventh, with Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda‘s Pierre Gasly and Alpine F1 Team‘s Alonson in between them. The top ten was completed by McLaren F1 Team‘s Lando Norris and Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team‘s Lance Stroll.
Elsewhere, Kimi Räikkönen was given the morning off as we saw the return of reserve driver Robert Kubica who ended the session ahead of his team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi, in what was a difficult session for the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN Team who finished the morning with their cars considerably off the pace in eighteenth and twentieth.