Lewis Hamilton went quickest in first practice for his home grand prix, the British Grand Prix, with the defending champion beating tam-mate Valtteri Bottas by almost four tenths of a second.
There was trouble for Max Verstappen, with the Red Bull Racing driver stopping on track at the end of the session with a suspected gearbox issue.
Verstappen had a good opening to the session, setting the early pace on medium tyres before he was dislodged by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and then by Hamilton, who set a medium tyre benchmark that last ended until just after the halfway point.
Following a switch to soft tyres, Bottas jumped to the top of the order with a lap of 1:27.854s, with Hamilton just behind but the VSC was deployed soon after when Romain Grosjean crashed heavily at Turn 1. “The car is destroyed,” reported the Frenchman and his team later confirmed that he would require a new chassis and would not take part in FP2.
Once the green flags were shown again, Hamilton put in the quickest time of the session with a lap of 1:27.487s. That put him 0.367 ahead of Bottas who did not improve in the final 20 minutes. Vettel, though, managed to close in with a lap of 1:27.998 that left him just over half a second off the pace.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo finished the session in fourth place, just under eight hundredths of a second clear of the second Ferrari if Kimi Räikkönen.
Ricciardo’s team-mate Verstappen took sixth place in the session with a time of 1:28.325 but there was an unhappy end to the session for the Dutchman when he slowed to a halt in the final minutes of running. Verstappen told his pit wall that he thought the stoppage was gearbox related before climbing out of the car.
With Verstappen’s car up against the pit wall, the VSC was deployed again, and then the session was briefly green-flagged once more Force India’s Sergio Perez improved to a time of 1:29.812. That was good enough for P8 behind the unfortunate Grosjean.
Perez’s team-mate Esteban Ocon took ninth place, while Lance Stroll was 10th for Williams, almost 2.4s off the pace.
2018 Formula 1 British Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 24 1:27.487
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 27 1:27.854 0.367
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 22 1:27.998 0.511
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 30 1:28.144 0.657
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 24 1:28.218 0.731
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 24 1:28.325 0.838
7 Romain Grosjean Haas 12 1:29.352 1.865
8 Sergio Perez Force India 23 1:29.812 2.325
9 Esteban Ocon Force India 24 1:29.815 2.328
10 Lance Stroll Williams 25 1:29.878 2.391
11 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 25 1:29.942 2.455
12 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 31 1:30.004 2.517
13 Charles Leclerc Sauber 27 1:30.027 2.540
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas 20 1:30.065 2.578
15 Fernando Alonso McLaren 19 1:30.322 2.835
16 Carlos Sainz Renault 22 1:30.358 2.871
17 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 25 1:30.416 2.929
18 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 18 1:30.701 3.214
19 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 31 1:30.749 3.262
20 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 22 1:31.017 3.5