Max Verstappen outpaced his team-mate Sergio Perez as the Red Bull pair scored a predictable one-two in Friday’s opening practice for this weekend’s British Grand Prix. The defending double world champion and runaway series leader, seeking his first win at Silverstone since 2020, clocked a best lap in one minute and 28.600 seconds to beat the Mexican by four-tenths.
It was a typically dominant performance from the champion team as they seek this weekend a record-equalling 11th consecutive race victory, to draw level with McLaren’s 1988 achievement.
Behind the duo from the nearby Milton Keynes-based team, Williams’ Alex Albon took third ahead of two-time champion Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Esteban Ocon of Alpine.
Carlos Sainz was seventh in the second Ferrari ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris, Lance Stroll in the second Aston Martin and Oscar Piastri in the second McLaren. Verstappen was the only man to dip below the 1:29 barrier.
On a bright day at the former wartime airbase, packed with fans, Verstappen was quick to take command in the opening session and was soon on top ahead of the two Ferraris.
After 20 minutes, the Dutchman had lapped seven-tenths faster than Leclerc with Sainz third, a further tenth adrift, ahead -– until he was dislodged by an improved lap from Perez, who took third.
Verstappen soon had his Red Bull team-mate in much closer proximity in second place before, with half an hour remaining Sainz went top in 1:29.357 on soft tyres.
There was little for the home British fans to cheer at this stage with Lewis Hamilton sixth, George Russell 17th and Norris in 15th, the seven-time champion reporting ‘bouncing is pretty bad’ after one lively lap. Leclerc, on softs, then went second before Russell took fourth as most teams switched to softs.
With 15 minutes remaining, Red Bull made the switch to softs. Perez swept back to third and then Verstappen, in 1:28.836, demonstrated his current level of supreme form. He was almost half a second clear of Leclerc at the first attempt -– until Alonso went second, four-tenths off, to be swiftly replaced in second by Albon, in 1:29.089, an impressive lap by the Williams driver.
As Mercedes persisted on mediums, Hamilton survived a big over-steer moment at Stowe, before Perez slotted into second to ensure Red Bull had a one-two outcome. The Mercedes men ended up 12th and 14th.
In other news – Maps Maponyane and Shudufhadzo Musida spark dating rumours
Miss South Africa 2020 Shudufhadzo Musida and presenter, actor and businessman Maps Maponyane reportedly can’t keep their hands off each other.
According to a source who spoke to Zimoja, the rumoured couple is head over heels in love and they have been finding it difficult to hide it from the public. The beauty pageant queen and Tell Me Sweet Something actor were reportedly spotted packing on PDA (public displays of affection) in Durban during the Durban July weekend. Learn more