British GP F1 practice: Lewis Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 in FP1

Lewis Hamilton launched his bid for a fifth-straight British Grand Prix victory by comfortably heading a one-two for the Mercedes Formula 1 team in opening practice at Silverstone

British GP F1 practice: Lewis Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 in FP1

Hamilton bested team-mate Valtteri Bottas by almost four-tenths of a second, with Ferrari's championship leader Sebastian Vettel Mercedes' closest challenger half a second back from Hamilton.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen set the early pace on medium tyres and was the first driver to dip into the 1m29s, but his session ended a few minutes early with a suspected gearbox problem that forced him to park up on the start/finish straight.

Hamilton broke the 1m29s barrier with a 1m28.908s just after the half-hour mark, which remained the best time until the frontrunners emerged again 20 minutes later on soft tyres.

Bottas went quickest on a 1m28.143s, which Hamilton fell 0.010s short of before Bottas improved further to a 1m27.854s.

Romain Grosjean then neutralised the session with a big crash at Turn 1.

Grosjean lost the rear of his Haas under braking after not deactivating DRS in time, which he blamed on the bumpy corner entry making him miss the button on his steering wheel.

The virtual safety car was activated during the recovery of the VF-18, which meant drivers had just over 20 minutes of green-flag running left.

Hamilton used that to go quickest on a 1m27.487s to establish a commanding advantage at the head of the field as Bottas failed to improve, although Vettel closed the gap to the Finn after dipping into the 1m27s himself.

Daniel Ricciardo was the quickest Red Bull driver and finished fourth-fastest.

He spent the first half of the session on hard tyres but jumped up the order on softs later on, then had a quick trip off-track exiting Luffield with around 20 minutes to go.

Moments later, Kimi Raikkonen spun his Ferrari at Brooklands after getting too greedy over the kerb at the apex.

The Finn ended up fifth quickest, splitting the Red Bulls of Ricciardo and Verstappen.

Verstappen's problem near the end of the session triggered another VSC as his Red Bull was wheeled through a gap in the pitwall.

Sergio Perez used a final minute of green-lap running to improve to eighth, ahead of his Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon and behind Grosjean, as Lance Stroll completed the top 10 for Williams.

Fernando Alonso replicated Perez's last-gasp improvement to ensure his late-session recovery ended in 15th.

The McLaren driver spent most of the session without a lap time to his name and went off-track exiting the Maggots/Becketts complex on his first flying lap before reeling off several personal bests.

FP1 times

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m27.487s - 24
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m27.854s 0.367s 27
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m27.998s 0.511s 22
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m28.144s 0.657s 30
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m28.218s 0.731s 24
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m28.325s 0.838s 24
7 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m29.352s 1.865s 12
8 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m29.812s 2.325s 23
9 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m29.815s 2.328s 24
10 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m29.878s 2.391s 25
11 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m29.942s 2.455s 25
12 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m30.004s 2.517s 31
13 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m30.027s 2.540s 27
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m30.065s 2.578s 20
15 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1m30.322s 2.835s 19
16 Carlos Sainz Jr. Renault 1m30.358s 2.871s 22
17 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m30.416s 2.929s 25
18 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m30.701s 3.214s 18
19 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1m30.749s 3.262s 31
20 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m31.017s 3.530s 22

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton
Teams Mercedes
Author Scott Mitchell
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