British GP: Verstappen quickest, Vettel hits trouble in FP1

Max Verstappen set the pace in first practice for the British Grand Prix on Friday as Nico Hulkenberg made his on-track Formula 1 return with Racing Point.

Verstappen was able to finish almost half a second clear of home favourite Lewis Hamilton to lead FP1 for Red Bull during a hot opening session at Silverstone as track temperatures rose beyond 45ºC.

Verstappen set a fastest lap time of 1m27.422s on the soft compound tyre to finish 0.474 seconds clear of Hamilton, who set his best lap on mediums in the leading Mercedes.

Racing Point managed to continue its recent impressive form as Lance Stroll ended the session third, eight tenths of a second clear of Hulkenberg.

After being drafted in as Sergio Perez’s replacement, Hulkenberg only entered the paddock less than 10 minutes before the start of practice after getting receiving his negative COVID-19 test result required to take part in the session.

Hulkenberg managed to get out on track in the RP20 car within 15 minutes of the session beginning, and finished ninth overall.

The German driver encountered no major issues bar some discomfort with his seat that prompted him to request a breather at one stage, completing 22 laps in total.

Alexander Albon finished the session fourth for Red Bull, trailing team-mate Verstappen by seven tenths of a second, while Charles Leclerc took fifth for Ferrari.

Leclerc was Ferrari’s sole runner for most of the session after teammate Sebastian Vettel was only able to complete two laps due to an issue with the intercooler on his SF1000 car.

Ferrari said it would be stripping down Vettel’s car in a bid to fix the problem and rectify it ahead of second practice later today.

Valtteri Bottas ended the session sixth for Mercedes, a second back from Verstappen after recording his best time on the hard compound tyre.

Renault drivers Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo finished seventh and eighth overall ahead of Hulkenberg, while Daniil Kvyat closed out the top 10 for AlphaTauri, narrowly beating teammate Pierre Gasly.

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