FP1: Bottas tops the Mercedes-dominated opening session

By on

Mercedes continued where it left off last weekend by dominating the track action at Silverstone. Valtteri Bottas topped the opening practice session ahead of his team-mate Lewis Hamilton with Max Verstappen posting the third fastest time.

Drivers were in no rush to kick off their on-track action at Silverstone where they raced just a week ago. When Kimi Räikkönen started his first flying lap, the Finn left the track at Turn 4, complaining about the car’s behaviour.

The 2007 champion set the first timed lap followed by Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc. The German was keen to cover more laps following his technical problems-affected Friday last weekend.

Every driver opted for the softest compound available this weekend which is Pirelli’s C4 rubber. This is a step softer than the C3 compound that was the red-walled soft rubber at last weekend’s British Grand Prix. Drivers seemingly wanted to get rid of some sets of the softest compound.

With 57 minutes to go, Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas went fastest by posting a time of 1m27.400, but his team-mate Lewis Hamilton quickly usurped the first spot with a time of 1m26.842.

After the brief pause at the middle of the session, Mercedes kicked off the action with going out again on the red-walled soft Pirelli compound. On his first hot lap, Bottas posted a time of 1’26.166 to top the session. Making a mistake at Turn 16, Hamilton went 0.138 seconds slower to grab the second spot.

Surprisingly, Racing Point raced with a high-downforce rear wing at last weekend’s British Grand Prix, but the Silverstone-based team brought a new smaller version to the 5.8 km track. Using his flow viz-decorated new rear wing, Hülkenberg went on to go fourth quickest, only 0.049 seconds slower than Verstappen and comfortably beating the Ferraris.

After failing to set a timed lap in the first part of the session, Verstappen rolled finally on the track to set a meaningful lap time. The 8-time race winner posted a 1m26.893 to improve to third, but he was over seventh tenths of a second shy of the benchmark set by the dominant Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.

On his out lap, the Dutchman held up Leclerc, almost causing a collision in the fast Maggots-Becketts-Chapel complex. Verstappen told his race engineer angrily that Red Bull should warn him of cars on fast laps.

Fulfilling his reserve driver role at the Alfa Romeo Orlen team, Robert Kubica set the 19th quickest lap time, only three tenths of a second slower than Kimi Räikkönen.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarTimeGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMERCEDES1:26.166-21
244Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES1:26.304+0.138s23
333Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA1:26.893+0.727s24
427Nico HulkenbergRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES1:26.942+0.776s25
516Charles LeclercFERRARI1:27.062+0.896s20
623Alexander AlbonRED BULL RACING HONDA1:27.280+1.114s22
75Sebastian VettelFERRARI1:27.498+1.332s21
818Lance StrollRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES1:27.539+1.373s26
926Daniil KvyatALPHATAURI HONDA1:27.653+1.487s27
1031Esteban OconRENAULT1:27.701+1.535s23
1110Pierre GaslyALPHATAURI HONDA1:27.707+1.541s23
124Lando NorrisMCLAREN RENAULT1:27.846+1.680s26
138Romain GrosjeanHAAS FERRARI1:27.908+1.742s26
1455Carlos SainzMCLAREN RENAULT1:28.138+1.972s28
1563George RussellWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:28.170+2.004s24
166Nicholas LatifiWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:28.226+2.060s24
173Daniel RicciardoRENAULT1:28.511+2.345s23
187Kimi RäikkönenALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1:28.655+2.489s24
1988Robert KubicaALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1:28.960+2.794s22
2020Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI1:29.319+3.153s17