British GP Practice One: Pierre Gasly puts Red Bull ahead of Mercedes
Red Bull's Gasly ends as the surprise pacesetter ahead of Bottas; Hamilton fourth fastest; Spins and showers at Silverstone
By James Galloway at Silverstone
Last Updated: 12/07/19 1:53pm
Pierre Gasly claimed a morale-boosting fastest time in opening practice as Red Bull challenged Mercedes at the start of F1's 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, in the words of his team boss Christian Horner, is the "confidence-booster he needs going into the weekend" after a tough start to the young Frenchman's Red Bull career.
Max Verstappen, who won so impressively last time out in Austria, was third in the sister Red Bull, with world champion Lewis Hamilton fourth in the other Mercedes.
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"I think they're probably trying to give him some confidence," Sky F1's Martin Brundle said of Gasly's lap. "They know he's got the speed, and as in any sport it's as much about the head as it is about the skillsets.
"Young Pierre needs a good weekend, there's no doubt about that. It won't do him any harm, you lift on something like that."
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.
Who else has started well at Silverstone?
Although recent progress stalled in Austria, Renault's season has otherwise been on the up since Spain and the team are expecting the fast sweeps of Silverstone to better suit their 2019 car.
Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo started well in opening practice, finishing seventh and eighth respectively, just ahead of Toro Rosso's British-born driver Alex Albon.
McLaren have been the midfield's form team of the last two races and Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris were 10th and 11th on Friday morning.
British GP Practice One Timesheet
|1. Pierre Gasly||Red Bull||1:27.173|
|2. Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+0.456|
|3. Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+0.836|
|4. Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+0.949|
|5. Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+1.080|
|6. Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+1.131|
|7. Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||+1.630|
|8. Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+1.858|
|9. Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso||+1.920|
|10. Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+1.989|
|11. Lando Norris||McLaren||+1.997|
|12. Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+2.280|
|13. Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||+2.327|
|14. Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+2.484|
|15. Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+2.926|
|16. Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+3.432|
|17. George Russell||Williams||+3.568|
|18. Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+3.574|
|19. Romain Grosjean||Haas||+3.638|
|20. Robert Kubica||Williams||+4.948|
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