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British GP: Hamilton sets early pace as Mercedes dominate Practice 1

Written by  Jul 06, 2018

Lewis Hamilton made the perfect start to his home race weekend by topping the timesheets in Practice 1 at the British Grand Prix.

Under gloriously sunny skies at Silverstone, the world champion posted a 1m27.487s on his second flying lap to beat Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas by a third of a second as the Brackley-based team threw down the gauntlet to their rivals.

Sebastian Vettel was half a second down in third for Ferrari indicating the gap may not be as big as some feared, with the Scuderia known to run lower engine modes and hide most of their pace until Saturday.

Daniel Ricciardo would be a further tenth back in fourth for Red Bull after setting his best on the first flying lap using the Soft compound Pirellis. The Australian's session would be a little scruffy with a trip through the gravel at Luffield after running wide at Chapel.

Kimi Raikkonen would have a spin on the exit of Brooklands en route to fifth as Max Verstappen would opt to run the Medium tyres all session in the second RB14 and finishing sixth. The Dutchman's opening practice would end a few minutes early though after pulling off towards the pit wall on the main straight with a suspected gearbox problem.

One of the stories before the session was whether drivers would attempt to take Abbey, the near flat-out first corner, with the DRS open as a third zone on the pit straight does create the opportunity to do so.

Verstappen was certainly seen doing so early on, while others opted to manually close the rear wing flap on the approach before re-opening on the exit, with that possibility available should they remain at full throttle.

Unsurprisingly, the system would catch one driver out, that being Romain Grosjean who claimed he missed the button on the steering wheel going over a bump before sliding through the gravel and into the barrier.

Still, the Frenchman, who scored his first points of the year last weekend in Austria, was the best midfield runner in seventh, half a second clear of the two Force India's in eighth and ninth with lance Stroll completing the top 10 for Williams.

The two Sauber's ran well with Marcus Ericsson 11th and Charles Leclerc 13th both sandwiching the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly.

Kevin Magnussen and Fernando Alonso were involved in a feisty moment on track early on, with the Dane unhappy that the Spaniard did not fully let him through before Turn 1 and responded by giving the McLaren driver a little squeeze on the Wellington Straight.

They would finish 14th and 15th respectively on the timesheet as Renault lagged down the order with Carlos Sainz 16th and Nico Hulkenberg 18th.

Brendon Hartley was 19th as Sergey Sirotkin completed the order in the second Williams, recovering from a spin into the gravel at Vale early on.

An eventful start to the weekend which also saw many complaining about a very bumpy Silverstone surface despite having been re-tarmacked since last year.

Also, track limits on the exit of Vale could well be looked into with the racing line starting to emerge on the outside of the kerb rather than inside as so many drivers run all four wheels off the track. 

Full results from Practice 1 can be seen below:

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