Silverstone, Aug 7 (IANS) Valtteri Bottas on Friday marked his first sojourn on the track after renewing his contract with Mercedes for the 2021 season by heading the first free practice session for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone. The Finnish driver finished 0.138s ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finished 0.727s behind on P3.
Hamilton started off as the faster of the two Mercedes drivers but Bottas, lapping on the C4 soft tyres which Pirelli have brought in for this weekend, beat him on his second flying lap. He eventually managed a time of 1:26:166.
Racing Point’s Nico Hulkenberg meanwhile finished just 0.049s behind Verstappen for P4. His teammate Lance Stroll only managed P8. Ferrari’s Charles LeClerc finished fifth while Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Alex Albon was behind him. Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel finished seventh, looking less comfortable of the two Ferrari drivers once again.
McLaren could not get into the top 10 with Lando Norris finishing 12th and Carlos Sainz on P14.
Earlier, Racing Point were deducted 15 points by the governing body FIA after they upheld Renault’s protest regarding illegal brake ducts. The FIA stated that design of the brake ducts were that of Mercedes and not of Racing Point, as the latter had claimed.