Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Lewis Hamilton topped timing screens during free practice one at Silverstone on Friday morning. He did this during a close contested session between he and teammate Nico Robserg, who as usual were clear of the other competitors. Hamilton was just three hundredths of a second ahead of his teammate but they both had a comfortable lead on the remainder of the field. Hamilton set his fastest lap time of 1:31.654 on medium compound tyres, this time was faster than last years’ pole position time that was 1:32.248. there was not a lot between the two teammates but Hamilton was just able to edge out Rosberg. The German experienced some technical issues at the end of the session, he was reporting issues with ERS Deployment over the teams’ radio. He reported it after receiving a message on the dashboard saying ‘fuel use high’.

Sahara Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg looked on superb form during the practice session at Silverstone. The Silverstone based team brought some upgrades for the car along to the British Grand Prix at the historical circuit, the upgrades appear to be doing their job from Hulkenberg’s pace during the session. He set his fastest lap of the session when using the soft compound tyres. He will definitely be one to keep an eye on during the race.

Sebastian Vettel was trialling the second version of the ‘halo’ cockpit protection system on his Scuderia Ferrari during the opening free practice session of the weekend. He set the fourth fastest lap time when on the soft compound tyres. The German driver completed an instillation lap with the lighter and re-modelled version of the ‘halo’ cockpit protection system. He then went on to concentrate on his own running during the later stages of the session. Vettel was almost one second off of the pace the Mercedes team set and had problems beginning to show with his gearbox at the end of the session, these issues will not have helped to give Vettel the confidence he needs ahead of the weekend.

Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo was fifth on the live timing screens, his fastest lap was set on the medium compound tyre. The Australian driver was just ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen with the second Red Bull Racing car with Max Verstappen at the wheel in seventh. Force India’s Sergio Perez was eighth on the timing screens, seven tenths down on his teammate. Ninth place was Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jnr. The Spanish driver was a tenth up on McLaren-Honda’s Fernando Alonso, who finished in tenth place. Alonso and teammate Button were looking very competitive out on track during the early stage of the session. Button finished the session low down in twelfth place. He had been given an upgrade on the engine by Honda for this weekend, hopefully this will allow Button to be more competitive during the race.

Daniil Kvyat finished the session in eleventh ahead of Button who was followed by Valtteri Bottas in thirteenth. Teammate Felipe Massa was next in fourteenth. Massa concentrated on power unit work and basic set ups in the opening practice session. Both Williams’ drivers were looking to have a bit or instability on the rear of the FW38 as they went through the corners. Romain Grosjean ended the session in fifteenth, being the first Haas F1 team cars. There were rumours that the team were going to be receiving an upgraded Ferrari engine this weekend. Next up was Renault Sport F1’s Jolyon Palmer, the British driver that is experiencing his first home grand prix as an F1 driver this weekend.

Felipe Nasr finished the session in seventeenth for the Sauber F1 team. The team once again looked to be lacking pace during the practice session. They confirmed yesterday that they will no longer take part in the in-season test that follows after the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Friday saw current GP3 leader Charles driving the Haas F1 teams car in place of Esteban Gutierrez during the opening practice session. He finished the session down in eighteenth but showed an impressive amount of determination to make the most of the seat time. The youngster had the odd spin or slide in the VR16, which proved how much Leclerc was willing to push, youth showing he knows no fear. He was also the fastest driver in the speed trap at 322 kilometres per hour.

Esteban Ocon replaced Kevin Magnussen for the practice session, he finished in nineteenth. This being just his second outing in an F1 car, he took the session in his stride and looked at home in the car. Marcus Ericson finished in twentieth aboard the second Sauber car, he did not take to the track to complete a timed lap until there was just fifteen minutes remaining. This allowed him to jump ahead of Manor Racing’s two cars with Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto at the wheels.

©Fay Tilley 9th July 2016.