British GP: Verstappen fastest for Red Bull in FP1

Max Verstappen topped the opening Friday Free Practice session at the Formula 1 British Grand Prix, fending off Lewis Hamilton by 0.474s.

The Red Bull appeared to be performing much better than last time out in Hungary, and Verstappen took full advantage, going fastest with a 1m27.422s, while Hamilton, who has switched to his second MGU-K for the season after an anomaly was found in the data for his first one, was a further four tenths further back.

Lance Stroll was the leading Racing Point in third, while his team-mate for the weekend, Nico Hulkenberg was an impressive ninth, half a second off Stroll’s fastest time.

Hulkenberg was a last minute stand in for Sergio Perez, who is missing the British Grand Prix after testing positive for COVID-19, and immediately got on to the pace of the midfield, despite suffering with his seat pinching a pressure point which caused his leg to go numb.

The second Red Bull of Alex Albon ended the session fourth fastest, ahead of the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, who was 0.799s off the pace-setting time of Verstappen.

But, while Leclerc had a reasonable session the same could not be said for his team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

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Before Vettel could even set a laptime, Ferrari discovered an issue with the intercooler system on his car and therefore took the decision to strip the car down to resolve the problem, meaning he was unable to take part.

Valtteri Bottas had a quiet session, unable to match the time of the top five and he ended up sixth fastest, nearly three tenths slower than Leclerc in fifth.

Renault had a strong session as best of the rest, with Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo ending the session seventh and eighth fastest, while the Alpha Tauri of Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top ten.

The session was stopped with after half an hour of running after debris was left on the circuit by Antonio Giovianzzi after a spin.

The Alfa Romeo driver spun coming out of the Maggots and Becketts complex, flat-spotting his tyres. When he pulled away the rubber shredded, damaging the floor of his car.

He wasn’t seen again until the end of the session and ended up 18th fastest.

McLaren also had a quiet session, ending up in 12th and 13th, while Williams and Alfa Romeo appear to be tightly matched this weekend, with George Russell, Kimi Raikkonen and Giovinazzi all within one tenth of each other.

Nicholas Latifi was slowest, 3.2s off the fastest time in the session.

Friday Free Practice 1 Results

Position Driver Team Time
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1.27.422
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.474
3 Lance Stroll Racing Point +0.582
4 Alex Albon Red Bull +0.707
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +0.799
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +1.097
7 Esteban Ocon Renault +1.137
8 Daniel Ricciardo Renault +1.153
9 Nico Hulkenberg Racing Point +1.170
10 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri +1.446
11 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +1.487
12 Lando Norris McLaren +1.568
13 Carlos Sainz McLaren +1.669
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas +2.110
15 Romain Grosjean Haas +2.154
16 George Russell Williams +2.477
17 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo +2.503
18 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo +2.553
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams +3.281
20 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari No Time