British Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas boosted Mercedes’ hopes of recovering from their Austrian Grand Prix disaster by setting the fastest times in the opening practice session.
Hamilton’s quest for a sixth British Grand Prix win began with a timesheet-topping time of 1:27.487, over three tenths ahead of his team-mate Bottas.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was the nearest challenger at this early stage of the weekend, albeit half a second down.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen completed the top five, ahead of the second Red Bull of Max Verstappen, who ended his session at the side of the track with a gearbox problem.
Haas’ Romain Grosjean, the two Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, and the Williams of Lance Stroll completed the top ten.
A third DRS zone has been added to the Silverstone circuit this weekend but, unlike the extra DRS zones seen earlier this year, this one takes place in a corner, specifically the fast right-hander of Abbey.
Max Verstappen was one of the first to attempt turn one with the DRS wide open, however, the majority of lap times were completed with drivers closing the DRS slot during turn one, then reopening it for the remainder of the DRS zone.
Errors at turn one were expected this weekend, and the first to get it wrong at turn one was Haas’ Romain Grosjean, who spun off into the gravel trap and crashed into the barriers on the exit of turn one, bringing out the virtual safety car.
He lost the rear-end of the car as he turned into the corner, and his radio message of “I forgot to press the DRS button” suggested that he may have forgotten to close the DRS slot before turn one.
There was also an error for Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who spun at a less-conventional place.
Negotiating Brooklands, he took too much kerb on the inside and lost the rear of the car, spinning him off-track and into the middle of Luffield. He was able to recover back to the pits.
Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin was the first driver to make an error this weekend; the Russian tried to control an oversteering car through Club corner, over-corrected, and spun off-track. However, he kept it out of the barrier and was able to recover from the gravel trap and continue.
To view the full results of the session, click here.