Pierre Gasly claimed a morale-boosting fastest time in opening practice as Red Bull challenged Mercedes at the start of F1’s big British GP weekend.
Although on faster tyres compared to second-fastest Valtteri Bottas, Gasly’s late-session flyer of 1:27.173 was 0.456s ahead of the the lead Mercedes and could serve as a timely early confidence-booster for the Frenchman after a difficult start to his Red Bull career.
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Red Bull won five races last season, while Renault haven’t been on the podium in eight years but Ricciardo insists they are still rebuilding.
The 30-year-old finished a disappointing 12th in Austria two weeks ago when he was lapped by former Red Bull teammate and race-winner Max Verstappen.
Max Verstappen, who won so impressively last time out in Austria, was third in the second Red Bull, with world champion Lewis Hamilton fourth in the other Mercedes.
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On Silverstone’s newly-resurfaced layout, drivers found the going tricky as they struggled for grip — with a light mid-session rain shower also complicating matters.
Romain Grosjean endured a particularly torrid session: inexplicably crashing in the pit lane on his out lap, breaking his car’s front wing in the process, before later spinning into the grass at Brooklands.
Hamilton, Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris and George Russell also had off-course moments, while Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo ran into a suspected engine fault and stopped on track.
Ferrari, who like Red Bull used the soft tyre, were fifth and sixth on the timesheet, one second off Gasly’s late pace.
(All times AEST)
First practice: 19.00-20.30
Second practice: 23.00-00.30
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