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Formula 1 British Grand Prix 2024

Norris draws first blood in British battle as Piastri ends with failure

Lando Norris drew first blood in the fight for British GP honours this weekend.

Norris FP1 Silverstone
Article
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Lando Norris drew first blood in this weekend's British Grand Prix battle but for McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri his opening practice session ended with failure.

Norris, fresh from his clash with Red Bull's Max Verstappen in the Austrian Grand Prix, sent the Union Jacks flying at Silverstone with the fastest lap of the session with a time of 1:27.420s.

Piastri was third quickest, with Aston Martin's Lance Stroll providing the filling in the papaya sandwich, only for the Australian to be hit with an apparent hydraulics issue with a few minutes of the hour-long outing remaining.

Piastri managed to crawl back to the pit entry, only to grind to a halt halfway down from where he had to be rescued by marshals who managed to push him back to a position where he could be recovered by McLaren team members.

At the end, Norris finished 0.134s quicker than Stroll, whose own session began in ignominious fashion with what he thought was a brake-by-wire failure, albeit an issue that was quickly corrected with an electronics reset.

Piastri was a further tenth down ahead of Verstappen with a lap of 1:27.729s, albeit the three-time F1 champion did not do a soft tyre run as opposed to the top three ahead of him.

The session concluded with a heart-in-the-mouth moment for Norris when he had to brake heavily to avoid running into the back of a slow Isack Hadjar, in the Red Bull for FP1 for Sergio Perez, with brake smoke appearing from the MCL38 and a short excursion onto the grass.

Red Bull Academy driver Hadjar held his hand up in apology to Norris and simply stated he did not see the Briton, although the stewards still opted to investigate.

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Result Free practice 1 - British

# Driver Team Time Tyre
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Tsunoda spins out

The session was a fascinating one for a variety of reasons, not least for the upgrades on the cars of Red Bull and McLaren around a power-sensitive circuit.

The RB20s of Verstappen and Hadjar were sporting what was described as "subtle" and "minor" tweaks to the floor.

In contrast, the McLarens of Norris and Piastri ran with new rear wings specifically designed for low-downforce circuits such as Silverstone.

At the start of the session, Norris' MCL38 emerged from the garage bearing a rake behind the front wheels in a bid to capture data from its front wing in particular. Norris' car had the old-spec front-wing endplates, whilst Piastri had the updated version.

On his out lap, Norris was informed by race engineer Will Joseph that the conditions resembled "winter, Barcelona, 10 am levels of grip", referring to the chilly conditions at the Circuit de Catalunya in pre-season testing.

At Silverstone, heavy overnight and early morning rain had at least given way in time to allow the track to dry but still cool for the time of the year at 16 degrees Celsius.

Those conditions, however, resulted in an error inside the opening 10 minutes from RB's Yuki Tsunoda who spun off coming out of the right-handed loop of Luffield and beached his car in the gravel, resulting in a red flag and the Japanese, appreciably, finishing bottom of the timesheet.

At that stage, Mercedes' George Russell led the way with a 1:28.046s, three-tenths of a second quicker than Verstappen, all of whom were on the hard compound tyres.

After 25 minutes, however, Russell was deposed by team-mate Lewis Hamilton by three-thousandths of a second. His time at the top was shortlived, though, as Ferrari's Carlos Sainz edged the seven-time F1 champion by just over a tenth with a lap of 1:27.925s.

Switching to the medium compound Pirellis, Verstappen's first run saw him set a 1:27.764s, just a hundredth quicker than Russell, with Leclerc 0.139s adrift of the Dutchman. On his final run on the mediums, Hamilton finished 0.132s down.

A second lap on the same rubber resulted in Verstappen improving by 0.036s before a lap on the softs from Piastri soon after edged the Australian in front by a tenth.

Shorn of the aero rakes from earlier in the session, Norris' opening soft-tyre blast saw him purple the first sector, only to drop off over the remainder of the lap, to finish two-tenths of a second adrift of his team-mate.

After a cool-down lap, Norris again purpled the opening sector, and this time kept it together to move to the top of the timesheet by over two-tenths to Piastri before Stroll surprised by splitting the duo.

Russell and Hamilton skip softs

Behind Verstappen, Russell and Hamilton finished fifth and seventh quickest, and like the Red Bull driver, neither used the soft tyres.

And as with the top three, the second Aston Martin of Fernando Lando sandwiched the Mercedes, albeit on the softs with a 1:27.794.

Leclerc and Sainz were only eighth and ninth for Ferrari, with Alpine's Esteban Ocon completing the top 10, just over half a second down on Norris.

Alongside Hadjar, there were three other young drivers taking part. Ollie Bearman, fresh from being confirmed as a Haas driver for next year, was the quickest of the quartet - and 14th overall- with a time of 1:28.536s after stepping in for Kevin Magnussen.

Alpine's Jack Doohan, with an eye on a full-time drive himself next year, was 1.315s down in 17th after stepping in for Pierre Gasly, followed by Franco Colapinto for Williams after replacing Logan Sargeant, with Hadjar 19th, 1.850s off the pace.

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