Rosberg pips Hamilton in first British GP practice

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 03, 2015 7:48 AM

By Alan Baldwin

SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg knocked team mate Lewis Hamilton off the top of the timesheets in the dying seconds as Mercedes dominated first practice for the British Grand Prix on Friday.

The German, 10 points behind double world champion Hamilton after eight of the season's 19 races, lapped with a best time of one minute 34.274 seconds on a bright and hot morning at Silverstone.

Hamilton was a mere 0.070 slower with Toro Rosso's Dutch teenager Max Verstappen an impressive third but 1.256 off the pace.

Rosberg, winner of three of the last four races, had sat out much of the session as mechanics changed his car's gearbox due to a hydraulic fault that stopped him on track with just five laps done.

He had time for only 12 laps once the car had been fixed, compared to Hamilton's 26, but he made up for lost time by getting quickly up to speed.

Hamilton, who can expect to have most of the support from an expected 140,000-strong crowd on Sunday, had an early spin at Stowe without consequence.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who crashed heavily in the previous race in Austria, was fourth fastest with Spaniard Carlos Sainz fifth for Toro Rosso and Sebastian Vettel sixth in the other Ferrari.

Germany's Nico Hulkenberg, with the updated Force India getting its first proper run, was ninth fastest behind the Red Bulls of Daniel Riciardo and Daniil Kvyat.

Honda-powered McLaren's miserable run of form continued with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button 17th and 18th respectively, after spending most of the session in the garage, with only the Manor Marussia drivers slower than them.

Development driver Susie Wolff made her sole appearance of the weekend for Williams and was 13th fastest.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)