Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2023

Verstappen leads Red Bull one-two ahead of Albon’s Williams

2023 British Grand Prix first practice

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Max Verstappen looked in control of proceedings throughout the first practice session for the British Grand Prix and ended it quickest by four tenths of a second.

The Red Bull driver quickly took up his usual place at the top of the timing screens after the session began. Most drivers opted for the hard compound tyres to begin with, and Verstappen was consistently the quickest, eventually setting a best of 1’29.863. Despite holding an advantage in the order of a second over his rivals, the Red Bull driver complained he had “zero grip”.

Verstappen remained on top of the times until the mid-point of the session, when several drivers began to fit the soft compound tyres. Logan Sargeant was among the first to do so, and used the updated Williams to go third-quickest at one stage.

Carlos Sainz Jnr finally displaced Verstappen with a 1’29.357 on his soft tyres. His team mate Charles Leclerc made it a one-two ahead of the Red Bull pair, the two Ferraris split by six-hundredths of a second.

“I tried something in the last two corners, it didn’t work,” Leclerc revealed after a later run. “Copy, understood, we’ve seen it,” replied his race engineer Xavier Marcos Padros.

The Alpine drivers also showed some good pace on the soft tyres. Esteban Ocon, who complained of poor performance through Silverstone’s few slow corners at first, went quickest, while Pierre Gasly took up fourth behind the Ferraris.

This arrangement of the top places was only ever going to be temporary, and sure enough almost as soon as the Red Bull drivers put on softs they brushed Ferrari, Alpine and the rest aside. Sergio Perez couldn’t do the job on his first lap, falling 0.053s short of Leclerc, but his team mate did.

Verstappen looked slightly ragged on his first flying lap, taking a lot of kerb at the exit of Chapel and Stowe. But he kept his foot in, and a 1’28.836 put him on top by 0.444s. He found another two-tenths on a subsequent lap to extend his advantage.

Fernando Alonso put his Aston Martin second, but he was doomed to be replaced by another Mercedes-powered car. Not the works team nor the recently-updated McLaren which went so well in Austria, but the Williams of Alexander Albon, bearing a special livery to mark the team’s 800th grand prix, a milestone it will reach at the next race. Only one other driver managed to beat Albon’s time: Perez, by a mere four-hundredths of a second in the Red Bull.

Behind Alonso, Leclerc, Ocon and Sainz came Lando Norris in the first of the McLarens. Team mate Oscar Piastri, running the updated car for the first time, was 10th but suffered a hydraulic leak. Stroll split the pair in the second Aston Martin.

Nyck de Vries ended the first session in 11th place, having started it with a harmless spin into the gravel at Luffield. He ended up four-tenths of a second quicker than his team mate as AlphaTauri evaluate a substantial upgrade package.

The first Mercedes was a lowly 12th. Neither Lewis Hamilton nor George Russell ran the soft tyres during the first session, but nor was either driver happy with the performance of their W14. Hamilton was wrestling with his car at several points around the lap, and gave it straight to race engineer Peter Bonnington: “Balance is pretty bad, mate.” Russell asked for his steering to be looked at after complaining about various vibrations.

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2023 British Grand Prix first practice result

11Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’28.60026
211Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’29.0480.44822
323Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW451’29.0890.48922
414Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’29.2680.66821
516Charles LeclercFerrariSF-231’29.2800.68025
631Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5231’29.3190.71923
755Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-231’29.3570.75725
84Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’29.4410.84125
918Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’29.4710.87126
1081Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’29.6581.05816
1121Nyck de VriesAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’29.6911.09126
1244Lewis HamiltonMercedesW141’29.7681.16823
1310Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA5231’29.8281.22824
1463George RussellMercedesW141’29.8741.27428
1577Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’30.0901.49022
1622Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’30.0921.49228
172Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesFW451’30.1241.52424
1824Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’30.3211.72120
1920Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-231’30.3851.78521
2027Nico HulkenbergHaas-FerrariVF-231’30.5911.99122

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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16 comments on “Verstappen leads Red Bull one-two ahead of Albon’s Williams”

  1. Typical FP1, but I’m happy the pedal cam is back.

  2. Albon has just been mighty this season. I would be shocked if he isn’t the first person on the list to replace Perez for next season.

    1. Not sure that would be a great move for Alex. He didn’t do well with the pressure of Max as a team mate last time around. He’s got number one status at Williams and the whole team is around him. Hopefully the Williams will continue to improve and he’ll stay put.

    2. I think it’s often underestimated how much of a mental toll it takes on someone being up against a team mate like Hamilton or Verstappen. Rosberg ended up retiring as Champion because of it, Bottas was made to look ordinary, Ricciardo was never the same after it, Perez is now having major issues….

      There’s a reason why the guy in the number 2 car often struggles to perform. It’s easy to say “Albon is doing well, stick him in the car” but he’s in a lovely position now where if he does well, everyone says he’s great and if he does badly, everyone blames the car. If he re-joins Red Bull, everything changes – a good performance won’t be enough to beat Max and the pressure will start to build very quickly.

    3. Why would he want to go back there? Never mind why the team would actually offer him the seat… They already sacked him, remember.
      Albon knows well how the team works and who they’ll be building the car and strategies for while Verstappen is there.

    4. Is he? Or is his teammate just really not good in comparison?

      1. @proesterchen

        We could have said the same for Russell at his time in the Williams. But you could see him putting a slow car way above where it should have been on many occasions.

    5. Ferrari should be the team eyeing him for Sainz’s seat.

      Red Bull’s other seat is the seat for older guys with their best days behind them, as they’re going to play second fiddle anyway, so Ricciardo, someone like that.

    6. @todfod He’s definitely done with Red Bull (he’s even said that himself), but I saw a rumor reference earlier today about him replacing Sainz for 2025, which I doubt would happen, but never say never.

      1. @jerejj

        I definitely rate him higher than Sainz. But, I don’t feel Ferrari is a good environment for any driver. Drivers either underperform, or never reach their true potential as a driver when at Ferrari. Vettel is a classic example of a driver that underperformed at Ferrari, and Leclerc is not being able to reach his true potential at Ferrari either. I have no doubt that Leclerc would be a better driver the first day he would step in to a Mercedes or Red Bull car.

        1. @todfod I agree with you on Ferrari environment.

  3. I know it isnt representative but Alex putting that Williams up there should be noted by other teams looking for an upgrade on their current driver.

  4. Whats happend to Mercedes ?

    1. no soft tire running and new front wing if I remember correctly
      keep holding your breath until Q3

  5. Admittedly it was almost 2am Saturday here, but I’m certain I heard of Lance saying he was struck on the hand by a stone, and it was “pretty bad”.

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