British Grand Prix FP1 Report: Norris Outshines Hamilton as Verstappen Tops the Session Ahead of Qualifying

Published 07/16/2021, 10:32 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – British Grand Prix – Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain – July 16, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during practice REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge


With the British Grand Prix hosting the new sprint qualifying weekend, drivers took to Silverstone to complete their first practice session of the weekend. While qualifying for tomorrow’s sprint race inches closer, teams took the session to experiment their setups for an unconventional F1 weekend.

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Although fans arrived at Silverstone in large masses, Max Verstappen topped the timesheets ahead of local hero Lewis Hamilton. In addition, Red Bull looked far quicker than their title rivals in Mercedes overall.

Red Bull a class apart in the first practice session at the British Grand Prix

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While Hamilton received loud cheers from the capacity crowd, he briefly topped the timesheets. However, Verstappen stormed to the top by posting the outright fastest lap of the session. In fact, he left his teammate Sergio Perez a second behind in the timesheets.

Despite looking strong initially, Mercedes finished far behind Red Bull in the timesheets. Although Hamilton put an excellent lap on soft tires towards the end of the session, he could only manage P3. In addition, his teammate Valtteri Bottas finished a few places off in P5.

During the session, Hamilton expressed surprise when his race engineer told him of his gap to Verstappen. “Seven-tenths, where is that coming from?” questioned the 36-year-old.

Formula One F1 – British Grand Prix – Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain – July 16, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during practice REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

While pole position still looks to be a battle between Mercedes and Red Bull, it seems the Austrian outfit have the upper hand in Hamilton’s home race.

Norris impresses for McLaren in close midfield battle

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The 21-year-old put an exquisite lap to finish P2, right in between the two championship contenders. However, Daniel Ricciardo finished significantly behind with a P9 classification in the session. In addition, the Australian finished behind both Charles Leclerc in P4 and Carlos Sainz in P6.

Sebastian Vettel put out an impressive lap to finish P7, outlining Aston Martin’s credentials in their home race. However, his teammate Lance Stroll struggled throughout the session, finishing a disappointing P18.

Although AlphaTauri took P11 and P12, fans can expect Pierre Gasly to put on a good performance in qualifying later today. However, Esteban Ocon completed the Top 10 ahead of both AlphaTauri drivers.

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Sanket Nair

323 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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