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British Grand Prix: Verstappen in a class of his own as Norris edges Hamilton at Silverstone

British Grand Prix: Verstappen in a class of his own as Norris edges Hamilton at Silverstone

F1 News

British Grand Prix: Verstappen in a class of his own as Norris edges Hamilton at Silverstone

British Grand Prix: Verstappen in a class of his own as Norris edges Hamilton at Silverstone

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.

Valtteri Bottas was 0.862s adrift, with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc splitting the Mercedes duo, while team-mate Carlos Sainz was in close attendance to the Finn, and the only other driver to finish within a second of Verstappen.

Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel then led a group of six cars covered by just over half a second, with the four-time champion followed by Red Bull's Sergio Perez and the second McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo.

Like his team-mate Norris, the Australian also did not use the soft tyre, albeit was four-tenths of a second down on the Briton, and 1.176s adrift of Verstappen.

Alpine's Esteban Ocon completed the top, followed by AlphaTauri duo Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda.

Alpine's Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll in his Aston Martin both struggled, with the Spaniard 14th and the Canadian 18th, the latter 2.5s back.

Surprisingly, George Russell brought up the rear, suffering a cracked left mirror en route to finishing 2.822s down.

British Grand Prix first practice timings

1. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] 1:27.035

2. Lando Norris [McLaren] +0.779s

3. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] +0.780s

4. Charles Leclerc [Ferrari] +0.793s

5. Valtteri Bottas [Mercedes] +0.862s

6. Carlos Sainz [Ferrari] +0.888s

7. Sebastian Vettel [Aston Martin] +1.027s

8. Sergio Perez [Red Bull] +1.128s

9. Daniel Ricciardo [McLaren] +1.176s

10. Esteban Ocon [Alpine] +1.380s

11. Pierre Gasly [AlphaTauri] +1.414s

12. Yuki Tsunoda [AlphaTauri] +1.565s

13. Antonio Giovinazzi [Alfa Romeo] +1.792s

14. Fernando Alonso [Alpine] +1.838s

15. Kimi Raikkonen [Alfa Romeo] +2.185s

16. Nicholas Latifi [Williams] +2.192s

17. Mick Schumacher [Haas] +2.192s

18. Lance Stroll [Aston Martin] +2.562s

19. Nikita Mazepin [Haas] +2.773s

20. George Russell [Williams] +2.822s

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