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Nico Rosberg rewarded his Mercedes mechanics for some swift work in changing his gearbox during first free practice for the British Grand Prix by going quickest in the final seconds of the session at Silverstone.

The German looked set to be pushed onto the back foot after being forced to park up the Mercedes just minutes into the session with a hydraulic issue having completed just five laps.

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Necessitating a gearbox change - for which he will serve no penalty -, Rosberg nonetheless got back out in the latter stages of the session after a mighty effort from his mechanics and duly responded in kind by pumping in the fastest lap of 1min 34.274s with his final effort, just under a tenth quicker than team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Indeed, Hamilton had looked almost certain to delight the local fans by establishing a plus-second advantage in Rosberg's absence, despite a half-spin at Stowe, but Rosberg's efforts in the closing stages would ultimately overshadow him.

Behind them, Toro Rosso turned in a strong start to the British GP weekend, with Verstappen's run to third place being complemented by his team-mate Carlos Sainz in fifth place, the pair getting amongst the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen - who suffered with some MGU-H problems - in fourth and Sebastian Vettel in sixth.

A positive start to the day for the Red Bull backed contingent, Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat turned in the seventh and eighth best laps, while Force India will take great positivity from Nico Hulkenberg proving ninth fastest as the unusual-looking, updated VJM08 turned its first wheel with encouraging results.

Felipe Mssa rounded out the top ten for Williams, ahead of countryman Felipe Nasr and Sergio Perez, while Susie Wolff marked her much anticipated FP1 run on home soil for Williams by going 13th fastest, eight tenths off her team-mate.

Elsewhere, Pastor Maldonado was in trouble after reporting technical woes on his Lotus, while both McLarens spent long spells inside the garage before emerging to go 17th and 18th best, four seconds off the lead and closer to the revised Manor on pace than the next-fastest race driver (Maldonado excluded).