Valtteri Bottas ahead of Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes dominate at Silverstone

PUBLISHED: 16:55 14 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:54 16 July 2017

Lewis Hamilton in 2017 British Grand Prix practice at Silverstone [Picture: Sean Ramsell]

Lewis Hamilton in 2017 British Grand Prix practice at Silverstone [Picture: Sean Ramsell]

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Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton was second behind Mercedes colleague Valtteri Bottas in Friday practice at Silverstone ahead of 2017 British Grand Prix qualifying.

Austrian Grand Prix winner Bottas topped the morning practice session at Silverstone with a lap time of 1m 29.106s, with Hertfordshire-born F1 racer Hamilton just 0.078seconds shy in P2.

The Finn ended the day with the fastest time in the afternoon session, a 1m 28.496s, with 32-year-old Hamilton again in P2 as the Silver Arrows dominated the first day of practice.

Three-time world F1 champion Hamilton clocked 1m 29.184s in the morning and 1m 28.543s after lunch – but faces a test beating Bottas in qualifying after the Finn’s great day behind the wheel.

Hamilton said: “Today’s been a really good start to the weekend and it’s great to be back here at Silverstone.

“The track is absolutely incredible with these new cars.

“It was already one of the very best circuits in the world, but with this car and the speed we are able to carry through the corners, it’s just phenomenal, it’s like the greatest rollercoaster ride ever.”

Ahead of Saturday’s Silverstone qualifying, Hamilton added: “We worked through all the sessions, fine-tuning the balance and I think we’re in a good position at this early stage of the weekend.

“We still need to build upon it, but it’s a great foundation moving forward.

Lewis Hamilton driving in 2017 British Grand Prix practice at Silverstone [Picture: Sean Ramsell]Lewis Hamilton driving in 2017 British Grand Prix practice at Silverstone [Picture: Sean Ramsell]

“Each time I left the garage I gave the fans a wave and I could see them waving back.

“I just want them to know that I can see them and I really appreciate all the love and support.”

After setting the practice pace, Bottas said: “We’ve started the weekend really well.

“In the first session, the balance was not too far away, so a positive start.

Lewis Hamilton driving around the Silverstone circuit in 2017 British Grand Prix practice  [Picture: Sean Ramsell]Lewis Hamilton driving around the Silverstone circuit in 2017 British Grand Prix practice [Picture: Sean Ramsell]

“There is still work to do to get the car more driveable and to be able to trust it more in the high-speed corners.

“But overall I think it was a good start for the weekend.”

Looking ahead to qualifying on Saturday, Bottas added: “We just need to work as normal, try and make improvements for tomorrow.

“I’m impressed by the new cars on this track with its high-speed corners – they’re so much quicker than before.

Lewis Hamilton in practice for the 2017 British Grand Prix at Silverstone [Picture: Sean Ramsell]Lewis Hamilton in practice for the 2017 British Grand Prix at Silverstone [Picture: Sean Ramsell]

“I’m definitely enjoying it and had a lot of fun, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

“You feel more G in the corners and there’s a greater effect on your body, quite a big step up from last year. But luckily I’m well prepared for that.”

Mercedes’ one-two in both practice sessions was a “really promising start” to the British Grand Prix weekend, according to Silver Arrows technical director James Allison.

He said: “We’ve had a really promising start to the weekend, with both cars working well on the three different tyre compounds, as well as showing good pace on both low and high fuel.

Valtteri Bottas on track in practice ahead of the 2017 British Grand Prix [Picture: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG]Valtteri Bottas on track in practice ahead of the 2017 British Grand Prix [Picture: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG]

“We worked through our programme successfully and now our focus turns to making sure we’re in the best possible place to compete on Saturday and Sunday. A good start though overall.”

Lewis Hamilton on track in practice ahead of the 2017 British Grand Prix [Picture: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG]Lewis Hamilton on track in practice ahead of the 2017 British Grand Prix [Picture: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG]

Lewis Hamilton at the 2017 British Grand Prix [Picture: Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd]Lewis Hamilton at the 2017 British Grand Prix [Picture: Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd]

Lewis Hamilton on track in practice ahead of the 2017 British Grand Prix [Picture: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG]Lewis Hamilton on track in practice ahead of the 2017 British Grand Prix [Picture: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG]

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