Valtteri Bottas’ race-winning momentum from Austria carried into Friday’s opening practice for the 2017 Formula 1 Rolex British Grand Prix, as he edged Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton for P1 by just 0.078s. Neither driver sampled the fastest supersoft tyre. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo did - and finished third and fourth respectively, with Verstappen half a second down on Bottas.
The Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were next up, the latter having spent the opening minutes of the session trialling the FIA’s latest cockpit protection ‘Shield’ device. Soon after it had been removed, he spun at Becketts.
Daniil Kvyat was seventh for Toro Rosso, while both McLaren drivers made the top ten, with Fernando Alonso eighth, separated from team mate Stoffel Vandoorne by the Williams of Felipe Massa. It wasn’t all good news for the Woking squad though – Alonso has been given a five-place grid penalty for using his fifth energy store element of the season on his Honda power unit, exceeding the permitted four.
The Mercedes duo soon set the Silverstone pace, with Bottas on 1m 29.651s on the soft rubber and Hamilton on 1m 29.797s on similar tyres. Around the 35 minute mark the Finn then lapped in 1m 29.106s, breaking Hamilton’s pole-speed mark of 1m 29.287s from 2016. As expected, the 2017 cars were quick. Hamilton’s first response was 1m 29.485s, followed by 1m 29.384s and then 1m 29.184s.
Behind them, Red Bull slapped on the supersofts that Ferrari had been using for most of the session, and moved ahead of the red cars. Verstappen lapped in 1m 29.604s, to trail the Silver Arrows by half a second, as Ricciardo posted 1m 29.942s.
Neither of the Ferraris broke 1m 30s, Raikkonen recording 1m 30.137s and Vettel; 1m 30.517s.
As Kvyat, Alonso, Massa and Vandoorne rounded out the top 10, all but the Brazilian running supersofts, the only real incidents were some debris at Copse early on (discarded by Massa), on off-track moment for Williams’ Lance Stroll at Becketts, gearbox temperature problems for Pascal Wehrlein’s Sauber and Romain Grosjean complaining of power loss in his Haas.