Max P1 in First Practice on Silverstone

Published on 31 July 2020 by Mike Motilall

Max Verstappen topped the board in FP1 in the run-up to the British Grand Prix. On the 5,891 meter long circuit, the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing-driver was followed by Lewis Hamilton in second place in his Mercedes and Racing Point running Lance Stroll in P3. Alexander Albon and Charles Leclerc rounded out the top five.

Prior to the first training, it remained anyone’s guess for a long time who would stand in for the Covid-19 stricken Sergio Perez at Racing Point. Surprisingly we see Nico Hülkenberg in the car a few minutes before the start of the session.

When the lights go out, Hamilton is the first one out on track. A great many drivers follow suit. After an installation lap they all return back to the pits. As oppose to Albon, team mate Max takes his time heading out on track. After ten minutes, the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing-driver, together with Daniil Kvyat and Hülkenberg, still hasn’t left the pits. The Dutchman is still in his car, but the front wing and tyres haven’t been mounted yet.

After some thirteen minutes, we see the first few meters of Hülkenberg as he takes to the track in the Racing Point RP20. The German only does an installation lap and returns to the team. Kimi Raikkonen is the first one to set a timed lap after well over sixteen minutes. At the same moment, Max is out on track. We hear him complain on the radio that he cannot move his head well because of the headrest. The team is ready and waiting for him with another one. After his first flying lap, he is second, behind Lando Norris.

After almost half an hour, we see Raikkonen in the gravel trap, backwards. The Finn is apparently able to return to the pits unscathed and unaided. Not much later, team mate Antonio Giovinazzi slips off course and triggers a code red. Giovinazzi’s flatspots on his tyres damage his floor, this triggers an event sending debris flying all over the track that first needs to be cleaned up.

Ferrari is busy working on Sebastian Vettel’s car. Issues with the inter cooler will most likely keep the German in the pits for the remainder of the session. With still well over forty five minutes on the clock, the track is cleared again. The mess Giovinazzi made has been taken care of.

The track immediately gets crowded and even Max is there from the word go. He betters his own time and is P1. Moments later, Stroll takes that over from him followed by Mercedes running Bottas. Max is running on the hardest compound while Bottas and Stroll are on the softs. Max asks on the radio if the wind has picked up. ‘Negative’, is the reply he gets from his engineer.

Max heads back out on track with a little over half an hour left on the clock. This time on a new set of softs. With two purple and one green section, the flying Dutchman snatches P1 back again. Hamilton is second, almost half a second adrift followed by Stroll in P3.

In the closing stages, no one actually betters their time. Most of the drivers are busy with long runs, they are not bothered doing quick lap times. Giovinazzi will have to report to the Stewards. Apparently he breached article 27.4 of the Rules and Regulations, stating that a driver should not drive unnecessarily slowly on track if that could pose a danger for the other drivers.

British GP contest: Win a RBR Max Verstappen orange T-shirt!

Results first free practice Great Britain:

1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1:27.422 26
2Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:27.896+0.474s26
3Lance StrollSTRRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:28.004+0.582s21
4Alexander AlbonALBRed Bull Racing Honda1:28.129+0.707s23
5Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:28.221+0.799s21
6Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes1:28.519+1.097s28
7Esteban OconOCORenault1:28.559+1.137s25
8Daniel RicciardoRICRenault1:28.575+1.153s21
9Nico HulkenbergHULRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:28.592+1.170s22
10Daniil KvyatKVYAlphaTauri Honda1:28.868+1.446s20
11Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda1:28.909+1.487s23
12Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault1:28.988+1.566s23
13Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault1:28.990+1.568s21
14Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:29.532+2.110s22
15Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari1:29.576+2.154s24
16Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:29.746+2.324s23
17George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes1:29.899+2.477s22
18Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:29.925+2.503s16
19Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes1:30.703+3.281s19
20Sebastian VettelVETFerrari---2