FP1: Verstappen lays down a marker for qualifying after topping first practice at Silverstone
Ninety-thousand fans packed the Silverstone grandstands to witness Max Verstappen top first practice as the British Grand Prix weekend began under blue skies. McLaren's Lando Norris bounced back from a tough week to take P2, ahead of fellow home racer Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes in P3, before this afternoon's qualifying session.
As part of an experimental revised format this weekend, FP1 was the only hour-long session before qualifying at Silverstone, the result of which will set the grid for the inaugural F1 Sprint on Saturday afternoon. As a result, the teams wasted no time in getting on track, first on a mix of medium and hard tyres before switching to softs with around 20 minutes left.
Red Bull racer Verstappen began on hard tyres and complained that his seatbelts were improperly fitted, but when he swapped for mediums he shot to the top of the timesheets with a benchmark of 1m27.745s. Switching to softs, he improved to 1m27.035s – 0.779s ahead of McLaren's home racer Norris. Notably, Norris set his benchmark on medium tyres, rather than the soft.
Reigning champion Hamilton finished third on the softs, 0.780s off the pace in his upgraded Mercedes W12, while the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc filed in fourth. Hamilton's team mate Valtteri Bottas took P5 and was 0.862s off the pace, ahead of Carlos Sainz in P6 – the Spaniard having spun at Turn 3 before setting his fastest lap.
FORMULA 1 PIRELLI BRITISH GRAND PRIX 2021
Great Britain 2021
Practice 1 results
|1 Max Verstappen VER Red Bull Racing||1:27.035|
|2 Lando Norris NOR McLaren||+0.779s|
|3 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes||+0.780s|
|4 Charles Leclerc LEC Ferrari||+0.793s|
|5 Valtteri Bottas BOT Mercedes||+0.862s|
Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel carries a new engine, turbo and MGU-H for this weekend onwards and made a late jump to seventh on softs, keeping Mexican Sergio Perez at bay in P8 for Red Bull.
That left medium-shod Daniel Ricciardo ninth for McLaren, and with a new chassis and MGU-K, Esteban Ocon put his Alpine in P10 while team mate Fernando Alonso was 14th.
The AlphaTauris finished 11th and 12th, Pierre Gasly over a tenth faster than Yuki Tsunoda, with Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi 13th – his team mate Kimi Raikkonen 15th behind Alonso.
Haas's Nikita Mazepin finished 19th, his team mate Mick Schumacher six-tenths ahead in P17. Between them was the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll, who said he was devoid of confidence with his car's balance as the session came to a close.
Williams' George Russell will be hoping that the crack in his mirror won't prove to be foreboding as he rounded out the standings for Williams in P20, while team mate Nicholas Latifi took a solid P16.
With qualifying up next at 1800 local time, who will make history and start at the front for the first-ever F1 Sprint on Saturday? Stay tuned for live coverage and all the reaction over the 2021 British Grand Prix weekend.