F1: Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 in FP1 as F1 returns
It was business as usual for the six time world champion as he topped the first practice session ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valterri Bottas with both using the controversial DAS system.
3rd July 2020
The heavy rain that had fallen on Thursday had mostly cleared with light rain falling in the first 30 minutes of the session with only a few drivers venturing out on track on the Intermediate tyres. As the rain lifted the drivers started to go faster as the track got grippier.
Ahead of this season, Mercedes have changed their livery with both of their drivers driving black cars to reflect support for anti-racism and diversity. Hamilton also debuted a new black helmet as he continues show his support for the fight against racism and inequality.
The controversial Duel Axis Steering, named DAS, was once again centre for attention as Mercedes decided to keep the system after debuting it at Pre-Season. This alters the angle of the front wheels between cornering and straights with the aim of reducing tyre wear. Red Bull are seeking clarification from the FIA as to the system's legality.
Behind the Mercedes drivers came the Red Bull of Max Verstappen who was less than three tenths behind Bottas. The Dutch driver spun with 20 minutes to go as he took too much kerb at Turn 1 which were still a tad damp.
McLaren's Carlos Sainz Jr managed to finish 4th ahead of the Racing Point of Sergio Perez and his McLaren team-mate of Lando Norris.
The second Red Bull of Alexander Albon finished in 7th ahead of the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo and the Haas of Kevin Magnussen. Magnussen's team-mate, Romain Grosjean, spent most of the session sat in the garage as his team tried to fix a loss of brake fluid pressure which limited Grosjean to just a handful of laps.
The Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel finished in 10th and 12th for the Scuderia with both drivers opting to run the Medium tyre instead of the Soft. Ferrari have ruled themselves out of contention for victory come Sunday as they haven't brought any upgrades to their SF1000. Vettel, who will not race for Ferrari next year, celebrates his 33rd birthday.
Esteban Ocon's return to F1 left him 13th for Renault despite losing pieces of bargeboard. He returns to F1 after spending 2019 on the sidelines.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:04:861
Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 1:05:172
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Honda, 1:05:418
Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren Renault, 1:05:431
Sergio Perez, Racing Point, 1:05:512
Lando Norris, McLaren Renault, 1:05:621
Alexander Albon, Red Bull Honda, 1:05:701
Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, 1:05:860
Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, 1:05:907
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 1:05:924