Bottas tops rain-impacted opening practice at Silverstone


Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas head the FP1 timesheet on Friday at Silverstone, but it was an irrelevant opening session due to very limited running taking place on a damp track.

The Finn only completed nine laps which was one less than Lewis Hamilton who was second fastest, 0.532s behind his former Mercedes teammate while Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc completed the top four.

The weatherman had forecast a high risk of rain for Friday, and the prediction was spot on with teams kicking into gear in a wet environment.

But the soggy weather was hardly a deterrent for F1's fans, and a packed house greeted drivers as they head out on track to test Silverstone's waters.

Mercedes boys Hamilton and Russell – greeted by a cheering crowd - sprang into action at the outset, with both drivers running on the intermediate tyres.

The pair were followed by Ferrari's chargers, but installation laps were the norm, especially as the track offered very different grip levels depending on the level of water.

However, Leclerc was the first driver to put a full timed lap on the board, but 15 minutes into the session, traffic remained sparse.

As the sun struggled to shine, only a handful of drivers eventually upped the pace, including Sainz who seized the quickest time, while the bulk of the field waited for better track conditions to unleash their machines.

The lack of action and especially dry running was also no help to those teams, like Mercedes, who hoped to gather data to evaluate their upgrades.

With a little less to than 15 minutes to go, drivers were awoken from their cockpit nap and urged to put a few miles under their belt.

Hamilton, still on the inters, was the first to comply, much to the fans' pleasure. But a set of soft tyres were simultaneously being prepared in the Mercedes box, and in everybody else's garage, as a dry line finally emerged.

A traffic jam formed at the end of the pitlane as many were keen to get in some dry running in the closing moments of the session.

Bottas, who stayed on the inters, had the last word and collected bragging right for leading the random pecking order from Hamilton, Sainz, Leclerc and Mick Schumacher.

The session came to a premature halt with 60 seconds left to go when Aston Martin's Lance Stroll brought out the red flag after beaching his car in the gravel at Copse Corner.

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