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.