Valtteri Bottas edged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to lead opening practice for Formula 1’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Bottas - who heads into this weekend’s second round at Silverstone trialing Hamilton by 30 points in the championship after being a casualty of the late tyre drama in last week’s British Grand Prix - posted a 1m26.166s on Pirelli’s Soft tyre to outpace his teammate by 0.138 seconds.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen set the third-fastest time behind the dominant Mercedes duo but was over seven-tenths adrift in his RB16.

Most teams used the first 90-minute practice session to evaluate and better understand Pirelli’s softer compound tyres following the trio of late failures that occurred in the final three laps of the British Grand Prix.

F1 tyre supplier concluded the punctures were caused by “extremely long use” on a demanding circuit and is sticking with its original decision to supply even softer tyres for this weekend’s 70th Anniversary GP.

Nico Hulkenberg was fourth fastest in his second outing for Racing Point as the German continues to deputise for Sergio Perez, who once again returned a positive test result for COVID-19 and was ruled out of a second consecutive grand prix weekend.

Charles Leclerc was fifth, with Alex Albon’s Red Bull splitting the Ferrari drivers in sixth ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who is seeking a stronger second weekend at Silverstone following his nightmarish British GP.

P8 went the way of Lance Stroll, who ensured both Racing Points finished inside the top 10, with Daniil Kvyat and Esteban Ocon rounded out the positions for AlphaTauri and Renault.

Pierre Gasly was 11th as both AlphaTauri drivers outpaced the McLarens, though the Woking team stressed it was not focusing on outright lap times during FP1. Lando Norris was 12th, ahead of Romain Grosjean’s Haas and his McLaren teammate Carlos Sainz in P14.

George Russell once again led the way for Williams in P15, though teammate Nicholas Latifi got within a fraction of his best lap time to take 16th, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who was over two seconds off the pace and well down the order for Renault.

The rest of the order was completed by the Alfa Romeos of Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica - who was deputising for Antonio Giovinazzi in FP1 - and Haas racer Kevin Magnussen, who suffered a lock up on what was shaping up to be his best soft tyre effort.

FULL RESULTS FROM OPENING PRACTICE FOR F1’s 70TH ANNIVERSARY GP.

 

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