Valtteri Bottas P1 after a crazy flurry of late activity

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Valtteri Bottas topped the timesheet in the opening practice of the British GP, but that was anything but representative given that only 10 drivers recorded lap times in a wet hour-long squib. coaching.

Any suggestion that F1’s development war had slowed down was quashed during Friday’s opening testing at Silverstone as just about every team made an update or three, with some becoming significant.

Williams’ Alex Albon debuted a Red Bull-style FW44, Alpine had very different sidepods and Mercedes also opted for a substantial update with new front suspension, floor and sidepod inlets.

As for the title contenders, Red Bull installed a new engine cover and floor while Ferrari tested a revised undercut on its sidepods and engine cover.

The rain, however, prevented the teams from qualifying for the race they wanted.

It was a very slow start to Friday’s action at the British Grand Prix with just nine drivers posting lap times in the first half of the session.

Charles Leclerc set the pace early on the intermediate tyres, with the Ferrari driver clocking a time of 1:43.801.

Teammate Carlos Sainz took the lead with a 1:42.967 with Bottas in second place ahead of Leclerc.

But with the track still wet, not quite intermediate but certainly not ready for slicks, the action dried up faster than the circuit.

The multitude of upgrades on the grid meant that operation was limited, with teams not wanting to risk damage to their new parts, running out of spares.

As fans filled the stands with a silent circuit for about 15 minutes, hoping it would soon give way to more action, instead there was more rain.

Hamilton went from greeting fans to getting into his car to venture onto the circuit, with the seven-time world champion breaking the silence.

The Briton added his name to the timesheet, an aero race putting him P7 out of 10 riders. He returned to the pits for a set of soft Pirellis, the first rider to switch to slicks.

It saw pretty much the rest of the field go one by one on slicks for the final five minutes only to have their action cut short as Lance Stroll pulled out a late flag as he grounded his Aston Martin at Copse.

Bottas, his time set on the intermediates, finished P1 ahead of Hamilton on the softs and Sainz on the intermediates.

Time

1 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Racing 1:42.249 9 laps
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.532s 10 laps
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 0.718s 8 laps
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1.552s 7 laps
5 Mick Schumacher Haas 1.646s 3 laps
6 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Racing 3.922s 4 laps
7 Kevin Magnussen Haas 5.912s 3 laps
8 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 8.994s 5 laps
9 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 9.124s 5 rounds
10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 16.919s 5 laps
11 George Russell Mercedes 2 laps
12 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 3 laps
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine 2 laps
14 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1 lap
15 Alex Albon Williams 1 round
16 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 4 laps
17 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 3 laps
18 Lando Norris McLaren 4 laps
19 Nicholas Latif Williams 1 round
20 Max Verstappen Red Bull 3 laps

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