British Grand Prix – Red Bull Racing’s Pierre Gasly has gone quickest in the first practice at Silverstone, leading the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.
Pierre Gasly has topped the timesheets in the opening practice session at Silverstone. The ninety minute session was held in overcast and relatively cool conditions at the Northamptonshire circuit, which saw plenty of spins and incidents as the drivers struggled for grip.
The session was briefly interrupted by a rain shower with just under half an hour remaining, leaving the track empty for around ten minutes with only Mercedes heading out on Intermediates to experiment for a lap.
Once the track dried out again, Pierre Gasly and Max Verstappen were the big movers in the closing minutes. Armed with the Soft tyre, Max Verstappen vaulted up to P2 to be less than a tenth behind pace setter Valtteri Bottas but, moments later, Pierre Gasly used the Soft compound tyre to do a 1:27.173 to go fastest by almost half a second over Bottas on the same compound.
Verstappen had to settle for P3, having run wide at one point off the grass at Becketts, ahead of Lewis Hamilton who was another one of the drivers caught out by the tricky conditions when he ran off the track entering the Wellington Straight.
Charles Leclerc finished P5 for Ferrari, a second behind Gasly’s chart topping time and around half a tenth clear of Sebastian Vettel in the other Ferrari.
Nico Hulkenberg was P7 for Renault as they showed promising speed in FP1; Daniel Ricciardo was P9 in the other Renault. Alex Albon was P9 for Toro Rosso and was another to run off the track when he ran wide at Luffield. He was able to continue without damage, and finished 0.069 ahead of Carlos Sainz’ McLaren who rounded out the top ten.
Lando Norris was P11 is the second McLaren, with Sergio Perez finishing P12 for Racing Point. Daniil Kvyat was P13 in the second Toro Rosso while Racing Point’s Lance Stroll was P14.
Antonio Giovinazzi was P15 in his Alfa Romeo, ahead of Kevin Magnussen’s Haas. It was a bad session for both Ferrari customer teams, as Kimi Raikkonen ground to a halt on track during the session with a suspected power unit problem. His stoppage resulted in a red flag as his Alfa needed recovery from the racing line at Woodcote.
Romain Grosjean also was an early casualty as he spun his Haas while heading out on track, damaging the front wing as he collided with the barrier on the pit lane exit. The Virtual Safety Car was briefly deployed as a result, as debris was all over the track. Grosjean would rejoin, and immediately spun again when he did so, but managed to finish the session in P19 with a best laptime of 1:30.811.