Max Verstappen dominates first practice at Silverstone
A dominant Max Verstappen set the practice pace in the first running of the weekend at the British Grand Prix.
The double world champion, a winner at seven of the opening nine rounds of a one-sided campaign, finished nearly half-a-second clear of Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez.
Lewis Hamilton managed only 12th in front of his home supporters, two places ahead of fellow Briton George Russell in the other Mercedes.
Alex Albon was an impressive third for Williams with Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso fourth. Charles Leclerc finished fifth for Ferrari.
Verstappen has already established a commanding 81-point lead in his pursuit of a hat-trick of world championships.
The Dutch driver cruised to the chequered flag a week ago at Red Bull’s home race in Austria, and he will head into the remainder of the weekend as the driver to beat following an emphatic start at a sun-cooked Silverstone.
Verstappen pulled on the speediest soft tyres with a dozen minutes to go and crossed the line 0.448 seconds ahead of Perez in the other Red Bull.
Hamilton has won seven of the last 10 races staged at Silverstone, but the seven-time world champion will have to upset the odds to add to his tally on Sunday.
The 38-year-old finished a distant 1.1 sec adrift of Verstappen and was on the radio complaining about the bouncing in his upgraded Mercedes machine.
Russell was also on the intercom to bemoan his unruly Mercedes, ending the one-hour running a tenth back from Hamilton.
However, neither Hamilton nor Russell posted a lap on the fastest soft compound.
Nyck de Vries is under pressure to keep his seat with AlphaTauri and the rookie Dutchman was the only driver to fall off the road in practice.
De Vries spun into the gravel at Turn 7 but was able to keep his car going through the sand trap before returning to his garage.
Despite the threat of action from Just Stop Oil protesters, the first running passed off without incident.
However, F1 bosses, Silverstone and Northamptonshire Police remain on high alert that a protest could yet disrupt the three days of running, with 480,000 people anticipated to pass through the gates this weekend.
Published: by Radio NewsHub