Max third fastest after Silverstone FP1

Published on 12 July 2019 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen started his British Grand Prix weekend with the third quickest time during the first free practice session. His Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team mate, Pierre Gasly, was fastest around the fast Silverstone circuit. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas clocked the second best time of the morning.

The session is off to a slow start. Apart from the customary installation laps, the action does not get underway until twenty minutes into practice. When most drivers finally hit the track, it is Haas’ Romain Grosjean that steals all the attention. Upon exiting the pits, the Frenchman spins and hits the pit barrier, losing his front wing in the process.

After Grosjean’s incident, which causes a Virtual Safety Car until the Haas is back in the pits, most drivers take to the track to put their first timed laps on the board. In the process, it appears that the new track surface provides less than grip than expected with local heroes Lando Norris (McLaren) and George Russell (Williams) both spinning.

Moments later, the first and only red flag of the session is thrown. Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo is producing a lot of smoke and noise, before grinding to a halt at Luffield with what appears to be an engine or gear box problem.

When the session resumes, dark clouds are hovering over the Silverstone circuit, highlighting the chance of rain during this Grand Prix weekend.

On his second attempt, Grosjean manages to negotiate the pit lane exit safely but on his first timed lap, the Frenchman spins. Luckily for the Haas driver, there is no damage, but his start to the weekend is far from ideal.

With less than half an hour to go, several drivers are venturing off-track into the run-off areas. “I think it rains”, informs Max his pit-crew, after which his engineer warns him not to take any risks. Because of a brand new asphalt layer, the track is slippery despite only a few drops.

Mercedes send their drivers out on intermediates but both return to the pits after just one lap to switch back to slick tyres. The rain stays clear and the track is getting ever faster with the quickest laps clocked in the closing stages. In the end, it is Pierre Gasly who tops the leader boards, ahead of Bottas and Max.

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Results first free practice Great Britain:

1Pierre GaslyGASRed Bull Racing Honda1:27.173 24
2Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes1:27.629+0.456s28
3Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1:28.009+0.836s20
4Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:28.122+0.949s25
5Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:28.253+1.080s20
6Sebastian VettelVETFerrari1:28.304+1.131s20
7Nico HulkenbergHULRenault1:28.803+1.630s20
8Daniel RicciardoRICRenault1:29.031+1.858s23
9Alexander AlbonALBScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:29.093+1.920s25
10Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault1:29.162+1.989s30
11Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault1:29.170+1.997s22
12Sergio PerezPERRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:29.453+2.280s26
13Daniil KvyatKVYScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:29.500+2.327s26
14Lance StrollSTRRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:29.657+2.484s24
15Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:30.099+2.926s24
16Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:30.605+3.432s24
17George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes1:30.741+3.568s24
18Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:30.747+3.574s12
19Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari1:30.811+3.638s21
20Robert KubicaKUBWilliams Mercedes1:32.121+4.948s26