SILVERSTONE, England — Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel pushed Formula One title rival and home race favorite Lewis Hamilton off the top of the British Grand Prix practice timesheets on Friday while Max Verstappen crashed.
Hamilton, winner for the past four years at Silverstone, had started the day by leading a Mercedes one-two in the sunny opening session.
Vettel, who leads the Briton by a point in the championship after nine races, put in a lap of 1 minute 27.552 seconds in the afternoon to end the session 0.187 faster than his fellow-four-times world champion.
That was still slower than Hamilton’s morning time of 1:27.487, however, with Vettel third then and half a second slower.
Hamilton’s Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas, with a new engine in his car after last weekend’s mechanical retirement in Austria, was second and third fastest respectively in the two sessions.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen traded fourth and fifth places while Max Verstappen, winner in Austria for Red Bull, was sixth in the morning but crashed after lunch without setting a time.
The 20-year-old Dutchman had ended the first session early after he was told to stop the car.
Haas’s Romain Grosjean had a heavy crash at the fast first corner, slamming into the tire barriers after failing to close the drag reduction system (DRS), in the morning and did not take part in practice two.
“The car is destroyed,” the Frenchman, who was unhurt in the impact, said over the radio. “I’m very, very sorry guys. I think it was the bump. I missed the (DRS) button.”
Team boss Guenther Steiner said the team needed to rebuild the chassis.
Grosjean’s team mate Kevin Magnussen and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso were called to see stewards for a “potentially dangerous maneuver” after an incident between them early on but stewards ruled there was no further action needed.
“Magnussen tried to hit me two times – in one and three,” Alonso reported over the radio. “Very dangerous.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin