Verstappen leads FP1 from Perez, Alban

Max Verstappen led Red Bull 1-2 in first practice for Formula 1’s British Grand Prix, topping team-mate Sergio Perez in the first session.

The Dutchman is hunting for his sixth consecutive win at Silverstone this weekend, a feat only four other drivers have completed, as he makes his 150th start for the defending champion.

Despite struggling for grip in the opening stages, he managed to take an early lead in 1m30.443s on the harder Pirelli tyres.

He continued to improve before switching to the softer compound with less than 15 minutes to go, after which he set his session-topping time of 1m28.600s, 0.4s faster than Perez.

Sporting a special livery for the team’s 800th Grand Prix, Alex Alban finished the session third for Williams with a 1m29.089s.

With many teams playing new terrain over the weekend – AlphaTauri being the most grueling – the track was busy early in the hour-long practice session.

George Russell clocked 1m33.471s for the Mercedes team first time, before he was bettered by team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who was almost second fastest.

Verstappen took the lead for the first time as Charles Leclerc finished second for Ferrari, although Hamilton finished second with a time of 1m31.422s.

The two-time world champion raced to 1m29.863s, 1.1s ahead of second-placed Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), before the Ferrari pair of Leclerc and Carlos Sainz moved forward.

Despite running 14th for the opening 20 minutes, Perez moved up to second and moved into third on the harder tires before dethroning Leclerc.

Logan Sergeant was the first driver on soft tires for Williams, finishing third with 1m30.327s.

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Sainz then followed suit on red-striped tyres, taking the lead with a 1m29.357s to go 0.5s faster than Verstappen.

Hamilton struggled to overtake his Mercedes, with Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg having a similar problem due to the club’s lack of rear grip.

Russell also had problems, struggling with steering and vibrations in Magots and Becketts.

After the halfway mark, Leclerc was second fastest on the softs with a 1m29.418s, as the Ferrari pair led the session on the softs, with the Red Bull pair running third and fourth on the hards.

Although Leclerc again improved to 1m29.280s, he was unable to hold off the Red Bulls, with Verstappen taking the lead with a 1m28.836s, 0.4s up on his first attempt on the soft tyre.

Perez finished second with 1m 29.048s.

Fernando Alonso finished fourth for Aston Martin, with Leclerc fifth and Ocon sixth.

Sainz, who took his first F1 win at Silverstone last year, finished seventh ahead of home hero Lando Norris (McLaren).

Stroll was ninth, with Oscar Piastre in tenth, suffering a late hydraulic problem in his McLaren.

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