Silverstone: Pierre Gasly topped the times for Red Bull ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in Friday morning’s opening free practice ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix.
The Frenchman, taking advantage of a probable ultra-light fuel load, clocked his best lap in one minute and 27.173 seconds in the final minute of the session to outpace the Finn by half a second.
Bottas, who is 31 points adrift of his teammate Lewis Hamilton at the top of the drivers’ world championship, had looked likely to be quickest until Gasly delivered his best lap in drying conditions following a brief shower.
Max Verstappen was third, eight tenths down on his teammate, ahead of fourth-placed defending five-time world champion Hamilton and Charles Leclerc in the leading Ferrari.
Hamilton was the only driver in the top 10 to run on medium compound tyres.
Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel was sixth in the second Ferrari ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and his Renault teammate Daniel Ricciardo, Alex Albon of Toro Rosso and Carlos Sainz in the leading McLaren.
Several drivers had spins and off-track excursions on the newly resurfaced circuit, notably at the rapid Brooklands corner, which claimed Romain Grosjean of Haas, Albon and Williams’ British rookie George Russell.
McLaren’s Lando Norris also had a spin at Club while Grosjean also managed to spin in the pit lane before he had entered the circuit, damaging his front wing.