Bottas Leads FP1 in Silverstone as Vettel Tests Shield

Valtteri Bottas set the quickest time of opening practice for the British Grand Prix, finishing seven hundredths of a second ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel became the first driver to run with the new Shield frontal impact protection system being trialled by the FIA.

The Shield, a transparent open canopy system constructed using polycarbonate and extending down the nose of the car, was fitted to Vettel’s Ferrari ahead of the session. He then completed a single installation lap with the device in place before returning to the garage.

In the practice session proper it was Bottas who set the pace, with the Finn using soft compound tyres to set a time of 1:29.106s, 0.78s ahead of Hamilton. Bottas’ time was more than a tenth quicker than last year’s pole position time.

Ferrari might have been expected to be the closest challenger to Mercedes but the Italian squad had a muted session. Kimi Raikkonen was the quicker of the two Ferrari drivers, though the Finn finished the session in fifth place and a full second adrift of Bottas’ P1 time.

Having had the Shield removed from his car, Vettel also had a low-key session finishing directly behind his team-mate 1.411s off the pace set by Austrian Grand Prix winner Bottas.

It meant that Red Bull Racing finished the session as Mercedes’ closest challenger, with Max Verstappen third on the timesheet with a best lap of 1:29.604, just under half a second behind Bottas. Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was fourth, 0.338s behind the Dutchman.

With the Ferraris in fifth and sixth, seventh place went to Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat. McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, armed with Honda’s more-powerful ‘Spec 3’ power unit was eighth on supersofts tyres, while the final top 10 positions were taken by Williams’ Felipe Massa (ninth) and the second McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne.

2017 British Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 29 1:29.106
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 29 1:29.184 0.078
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 26 1:29.604 0.498
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 19 1:29.942 0.836
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 19 1:30.137 1.031
6 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 19 1:30.517 1.411
7 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 21 1:30.895 1.789
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren 20 1:30.993 1.887
9 Felipe Massa Williams 26 1:30.999 1.893
10 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 27 1:31.041 1.935
11 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 24 1:31.200 2.094
12 Esteban Ocon Force India 32 1:31.210 2.104
13 Sergio Perez Force India 33 1:31.297 2.191
14 Romain Grosjean Haas 24 1:31.610 2.504
15 Lance Stroll Williams 24 1:31.684 2.578
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Haas 24 1:32.031 2.925
17 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 19 1:32.171 3.065
18 Jolyon Palmer Renault 16 1:32.450 3.344
19 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 23 1:33.029 3.923
20 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 26 1:33.399 4.293


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