Verstappen Tops First Practice at Silverstone as Hulkenberg Returns


Max Verstappen went quickest in the opening practice session for the British Grand Prix as Nico Hulkenberg returned to Formula 1 action for Racing Point in place of Sergio Pérez who was yesterday ruled out of the race weekend after testing positive for COVID-19.

Verstappen topped the timesheet with a lap of 1:27.422s set on soft compound Pirelli tyres and he ended the 90 minutes 0.474 seconds ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who set his best lap on mediums in the leading Mercedes.

Lance Stroll finished in third place for Racing Point with a time of 1:28.004, 0.582 behind Verstappen and almost six tenths clear of Hulkenberg who was taking part in the grand prix session for the first time since last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The German driver managed appeared on track with 15 minutes gone and despite an overnight seat fitting he encountered few problems during the session save for complaining of a small amount of seating discomfort that forced him to ask for a breather at one point. He ended the session in ninth place overall, 1.17s behind Verstappen.

Behind Stroll, Alex Albon was fourth for Red Bull Racing, seven tenths off team-mate Verstappen and just nine hundredths of a second ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Leclerc’s was the only Ferrrari on track for the bulk of the session after team-mate Sebastian Vettel completed just two laps before heading back to the garage with an intercooler problem on his SF1000 car.

Valtteri Bottas was sixth in the second Mercedes with a time of 1:28.519, while Renault’s Esteban Ocon took seventh place just under two hundredths of a second ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. With Hulkenberg in ninth the top ten order was rounded out by AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat.

The session was largely incident-free, though Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi brought out a red flag in the first half hour following a spin at the exit of Becketts, which caused him to flat-spot all four tyres and damage the floor of his car. The incident left tyre debris on the Hangar Straight and the session was briefly halted to allow the track to be cleared.

2020 FIA Formula 1 British Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:27.422 27 242.588
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:27.896 0.474 27 241.280
3 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1:28.004 0.582 22 240.984
4 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 1:28.129 0.707 24 240.642
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:28.221 0.799 22 240.391
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:28.519 1.097 29 239.582
7 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:28.559 1.137 26 239.474
8 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:28.575 1.153 22 239.430
9 Nico Hülkenberg Racing Point/Mercedes 1:28.592 1.170 23 239.385
10 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 1:28.868 1.446 21 238.641
11 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:28.909 1.487 24 238.531
12 Carlos Sainz McLaren/Renault 1:28.988 1.566 24 238.319
13 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1:28.990 1.568 22 238.314
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:29.532 2.110 23 236.871
15 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1:29.576 2.154 25 236.755
16 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:29.746 2.324 24 236.306
17 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1:29.899 2.477 23 235.904
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:29.925 2.503 17 235.836
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:30.703 3.281 20 233.813
20 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 2

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