Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton had his home fans cheering with the fastest lap in Friday’s first practice for the British Grand Prix as Mercedes led one-two at the top of the timesheets.
The 33-year-old, who will be chasing his fifth successive Silverstone victory on Sunday and sixth in total at the former World War Two airfield, lapped with a time of one minute 27.487 seconds.
That was more than half a second faster than Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who leads fellow four-times champion Hamilton by a point in the standings after nine of 21 races with three wins apiece.
Hamilton’s Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas, with a new engine in his car after last weekend’s retirement in Austria, was second fastest but 0.367 off the pace on a sunny morning at Silverstone.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo was fourth for Red Bull with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen fifth and Max Verstappen, winner in Austria for Red Bull, sixth.
The 20-year-old Dutchman ended the session early after he was told to stop the car.
Haas’s Romain Grosjean had a heavy crash at the fast first corner, slamming into the tyre barriers after failing to close the drag reduction system (DRS).
“The car is destroyed,” the Frenchman, who was unhurt in the impact, said over the radio. “I’m very, very sorry guys. I think it was the bump. I missed the (DRS) button.”
Team boss Guenther Steiner said Grosjean, who finished fourth in Austria, would take no further part in the day’s track action.
“We need to change the chassis so he will not be going out for FP2 (second practice),” he said.
Grosjean’s team mate Kevin Magnussen and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso were called to see stewards for a “potentially dangerous manoeuvre” after an incident between them early on.
“Magnussen tried to hit me two times – in one and three,” Alonso reported over the radio. “Very dangerous.”