Max Verstappen again proved to be the class act of the field as F1 geared itself up for a Friday evening qualifying in a shake-up to the weekend format.
The build-up to the British Grand Prix has centred on two factors - the introduction of the sprint race, and the return of a capacity crowd to a venue for the first time since 2019.
The event at Silverstone is one of three litmus tests for F1 this season to see if there is an appetite for a format change, and to see if a qualifying tweak will work.
With qualifying a day earlier, the 10 teams and 20 drivers were forced to cram in as much work as possible in the sole practice session available when ordinarily there are three.
The opening half-hour saw the drivers predominantly clocking up the laps on the hard tyre, trying to get a baseline for the 17-lap sprint that will take place on Saturday.
Championship leader and Red Bull driver Verstappen was comfortably quickest early on, with his best lap of one minute 27.035s posted on the soft tyres as he put in a qualifying sim.
It is clear Verstappen will again be the man to beat as the home hero and seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, who is 32 points adrift of the Dutch driver, finished eight-tenths of a second adrift in third position on the timesheet.
After being told over the radio of the 0.780s deficit, Hamilton said: "Seven tenths? Where does that come from?"
The 36-year-old was a thousandth-of-a-second adrift of McLaren's Lando Norris, who landed a front-row starting spot last time out in Austria alongside Verstappen.
Norris' performance was even more impressive as his time was set on the medium rubber as McLaren opted not to use the soft tyre across the 60 minutes.
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