Ricciardo quickest in wet FP1 at Silverstone

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Daniel Ricciardo has finished quickest in the first free practice session for the British Grand Prix, taking advantage of limited running due to the wet conditions to beat the other eleven drivers who managed to set a time.

A lengthy rain shower that began on Thursday night continued into the start of FP1, causing race control to disable DRS and declare the track to be wet. Valtteri Bottas was the first driver out for a sighter lap, but he, along with Pastor Maldonado and Esteban Gutierrez, came back to the pits to confirm that conditions were too bad for sustained running.

A long stand-off ensued once the rest of the field had been out for one lap, but the British fans remained as cheerful as ever despite the soggy conditions. With around 15 minutes to go, Daniel Ricciardo was the first driver to go out to post a flying lap time after telling his engineer that conditions were “not bad with the extreme tire”. His time of 1:57.992 sparked some of the field to venture out onto the circuit. Marussia’s Jules Bianchi was the next driver to post a time, going a full 12 seconds slower than Ricciardo before improving to be just 5.2 seconds off, but Gutierrez, Maldonado, van der Garde, Massa and Bottas could not beat the Australian’s quickest time. This honor fell to home favourite Lewis Hamilton, who went fastest with five minutes to go.

However, the conditions did catch out Charles Pic who went off at the final corner, making contact with the wall and coming to rest soon after. Ricciardo did however manage to recover P1 with just seconds to spare, and his time of 1:54.249 was not beaten come the end of the session.

The conditions were such that it makes it highly difficult to deduce much from the first free practice session, but one would imagine that the teams and fans will be hoping for better weather shortly.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”