Rosberg fastest in first practice at Silverstone; Massa crashes (VIDEO)

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Nico Rosberg has picked up in Silverstone where he left off in Austria by finishing the first practice session for the British Grand Prix as the fastest driver.

The world championship leader posted a fastest lap of 1:35.424 this morning, finishing some seven-tenths of a second clear of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in a session disrupted by incidents.

Susie Wolff made history by becoming the first female driver to take part in a grand prix weekend session in 22 years, but her practice lasted just 20 minutes after an engine-related failure on the Williamsย car. Teammate Felipe Massa saw his session come to an end just a few minutes later when he crashed on the exit of Stowe.

The crash was severe enough to warrant a red flag, and although Massa walked away unharmed, Williams has a big job on its hands to get the car ready for FP2 this afternoon. All the while, the other drivers tried to keep to their normal plan despite the red flag costing them 15 minutes of track time.

Caterham also had a tough session as reserve driver Robin Frijns encountered a problem on his car, whilst Marcus Ericsson spun out at Stowe. Pastor Maldonado didn’t even post a time after his Lotus stopped at the end of the pit lane.

At the front, it was business as usual for Mercedes as Rosberg and Hamilton secured yet another one-two finish. Fernando Alonso finished a respectable third for Ferrari, whilst Daniel Ricciardo showed signs of improvement at Red Bull in fourth place.

You can see if Mercedes’ good form continues in FP2 later today, with the session being broadcast on NBCSN and Live Extra from 9am ET.

Lewis Hamilton comes home to Mercedes factory after fourth title

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On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.

And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.

Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home ofย Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.

The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.

“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.

“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.

“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”

A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.