Formula 1 world championship leader Max Verstappen took his customary first place in opening British Grand Prix practice at Silverstone, with Williams a shock closest challenger to Red Bull.
> Alex Albon third for Williams
> Red Bull 1-2, Verstappen fastest for majority of session
> New Pirelli construction underwhelms
Verstappen held a commanding margin over the field in the early running on hard tyres with a 1m29.863s lap that no one got near until they started running softs.
Both Ferraris and Esteban Ocon’s Alpine had turns in front when that happened, but not for long before Verstappen went nearly half a second clear of them all by lapping in 1m28.836s. He later got that benchmark down to 1m28.600s.
Team-mate Sergio Perez’s first soft-tyre run was half a second off Verstappen’s equivalent and he was dropping down the order before a second attempt gave Red Bull its usual 1-2 formation. But Verstappen’s improvement in the final three minutes left Perez 0.448s adrift within it.
And that Perez time was just 0.041s faster than a stunning effort from Albon for underdog home team Williams.
That put him ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin, Leclerc and Ocon’s upgraded Alpine.
Both McLarens now have the upgrade package that Lando Norris debuted in Austria last week and both got into the top 10 – Norris (also now running a further upgrade on the front wing, but one that might not stay on all weekend) eighth and Oscar Piastri 10th behind Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin.
Mercedes also has a new front wing for this weekend but has yet to show its hand as it didn’t run soft tyres in this session. Both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell also had a few trips over run-offs areas on their way to 12th and 14th respectively.
Pirelli has a revised tyre construction this weekend, brought forward from a planned introduction next year in response to “the increased performance of the cars seen since the start of the season” in terms of outright speed and loadings.
Early feedback was not positive, with Verstappen complaining of “zero grip” over team radio.
Practice 1 Results
|Nyck de Vries