Lewis Hamilton set the pace in Friday’s first practice for the British GP while Romain Grosjean played with his DRS through the new zone – and crashed.
The session began with a brief moment of concern for Valtteri Bottas as he was unable to leave the pits on his first attempt. The Finn was pushed back into the Mercedes garage but a few minutes later was out on track and laying down the laps.
It was Max Verstappen who held down P1 through the early part of the session, a 1:29.469 for the Dutchman, who did take Turn 1 flat-out and with DRS open. The Ferraris were second and third.
Sebastian Vettel took over at the front as the Mercedes came out to join the party. However, neither Lewis Hamilton nor Valtteri Bottas were able to put in a completely error free lap as they pushed the limits, and played with the DRS flap through Turns 1 and 2.
Hamilton was not entirely happy with the newly resurfaced track and reported: “This is the bumpiest track I’ve ever been on.” He still went quickest, a 1:28.908.
#LH44 P1 🔨🇬🇧
— PurePitWall (@PurePitWall) July 6, 2018
At the 40-minute mark it was Hamilton by 0.336s up on Vettel. Verstappen was a further two-tenths off the pace.
Heading out for a second run on new soft tyres, Bottas went quickest with a 1:28.143 while Hamilton upped his pace but lost out on P1 by 0.01s.
Bottas upped his pace before session was briefly slowed by a Virtual Safety Car, the result of Romain Grosjean crashing at Turn 1.
Like many others, he was trying to find the optimum way to use the DRS through the new zone and lost his Haas. He slid through the gravel and slammed into the barrier.
“Car is destroyed. I’m very, very sorry guys,” was Grosjean’s message to Haas.
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 6, 2018
The session resumed with a P1 for Hamilton as he crossed the line with a 1:27.487.
Bottas finished second fastest, 0.367s down, while Sebastian Vettel was third quickest ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who ran the hard tyres, Raikkonen and Max Verstappen.
The Dutchman set his best time on the hard Pirellis but was forced into an early shower with an apparent gearbox problem five minutes before the end of FP1.
Grosjean despite crashing was best of the rest ahead of Sergio Perez, Esteban Ocon and, wait for it, Lance Stroll.
There was an issue between Fernando Alonso and Kevin Magnussen during the session as they went wheel-to-wheel with the double World Champion wanting McLaren to let the stewards know that the Haas driver tried to hit him, twice.
Alonso, who used FP1 as a test session, did not set a lap time until the final 30 minutes of FP1. He was P15.
Meanwhile Sergey Sirotkin was the first driver in trouble in FP1 as he spun off at Club, eating dirt through the kitty litter.
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:27.487 24 laps
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.367s 27 laps
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.511s 22 laps
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 0.657s 30 laps
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 0.731s 24 laps
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.838s 24 laps
7 Romain Grosjean Haas 1.865s 12 laps
8 Sergio Perez Force India 2.325s 23 laps
9 Esteban Ocon Force India 2.328s 24 laps
10 Lance Stroll Williams 2.391s 25 laps
11 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 2.455s 25 laps
12 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 2.517s 31 laps
13 Charles Leclerc Sauber 2.54s 27 laps
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas 2.578s 20 laps
15 Fernando Alonso McLaren 2.835s 19 laps
16 Carlos Sainz Renault 2.871s 22 laps
17 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 2.929s 25 laps
18 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 3.214s 18 laps
19 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 3.262s 31 laps
20 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 3.53s 22 laps