The BMW driver produced a 57.622s lap early on during the 40-minute practice when running in tandem with his BMW team mate Colin Turkington.

With teams and drivers focussing on dialling in the optimum set-up, Hill's early effort wasn't to be beaten with EXCELR8 Hyundai's Pearson setting the next best effort in second.

Hill still carries a mathematical chance of claiming this season's BTCC drivers' title, but would need to overhaul a 62-point deficit to runaway leader Ash Sutton.

Power Maxed Racing duo Aron Taylor-Smith and Mikey Doble enjoyed a strong start to their Silverstone weekend after setting the third and fourth fastest times aboard their Vauxhall Astras.

Having completed the majority of his running early in session, four-time champion Turkington completed the top-five FP1 order in fifth position, ahead of Sutton's NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus in sixth.

Three-time champion Sutton carries a substantial 42-point championship lead ahead of reigning champion Tom Ingram, who was ninth quickest in FP1 behind Toyota's Ricky Collard and Team BMW's Adam Morgan in seventh and eighth.

Rory Butcher completed the top-ten practice order with the tenth fastest time.