LEWIS HAMILTON takes centre stage as the British Grand Prix returns to Silverstone.
The Brit star is looking to claim a third-straight GP win after a dominating performance in Hungary and has won his home race a record six times.
Practice session 1 is underway, while Nico Hulkenberg has replaced Sergio Perez after the Mexican tested positive for coronavirus.
Follow all the latest build-up ahead of race day on Sunday…
FUN IN THE SUN
It's a baking hot day at Silverstone – and there were certainly fireworks in FP1.
Here's how the drivers ranked after that exciting first session…
VERSTAPPEN TOPS FP1
Max Verstappen leads the way from Lewis Hamilton and Lance Stroll.
Alex Albon is fourth-quickest in a decent display from Red Bull.
Then Charles Leclerc and Valtteri Bottas – the Finn well down behind his Mercedes teammate.
Nico Hulkenberg a respectable ninth place in the first practice session. Good job.
NHS WORKERS THANKED
Could be a tough weekend for Williams as this track really does show up the difference in pace between the cars.
That said, it is not looking too bad for the team right now.
This is the helmet designed for Lando Norris by a six-year-old fan
FROM A LITTLE EARLIER
A WORD ON RED BULL
After the wonderful recovery from both Max Verstappen and Alex Albon in Hungary, Red Bull will be targeting yet another solid points haul here at Silverstone.
Verstappen looking very good right now and has just bettered Hamilton's lap time.
Albon down in 12, needs a bit of work.
HULK IS UP TO SPEED
He has only been in the car for 52 minutes but he's eighth quickest. That's not too bad.
His teammate, Lance Stroll is currently P4.
But it is not all comfy for Hulk, who radios his team to say: “My right a*** cheek is getting a bit numb. There seems to be a pressure point down there.”
HAMILTON TOPS THE TIME SHEETS
Yes, I know you did not expect to hear anything else. The world champ is again leading the field.
He's also leading the championship, but, if you take him out of the equation, it is all rather close and exciting.
A WORD ON THE WEATHER
Normally at Silverstone, this old World War 2 airfield, it is cold and windy.
Today, it is in glorious sunshine. Temperatures of 30 degrees.
The fans would have loved this. Shame they are not here of this. All very surreal seeing all the empty grandstands.
SESSION HAS RESTARTED
And Lewis Hamilton is out on track. He's had a new engine component fitted this morning. The MGUK has been replaced. No penalty this time.
Max Verstappen is currently the quickest man out there.
WHEN IT RAINS AT FERRARI….
Bad news for Sebastian Vettel. The team have found and issue on his car and he will not take part in FP1 any more. He's done just two laps.
The team say: “No more running for Sebastian Vettel in FP1.
We have detected something wrong with the intercooler system on Seb's car so we have to strip the car down and check, to be ready for FP2.”
SO ASIDE FROM ALL THE DRAMA AT RACING POINT…
We now have a RED FLAG during FP1.
Antonio Giovinazzi has a spin and damaged a tyre and sends debris all over the track.
The session is stopped while marshals clean up the mess.
It is all happening this morning.
Niko Hulkenberg has replaced Sergio Perez at Racing Point for the British Grand Prix!
CLEAR THE AIR TALKS
GOOD MORNING F1 FANS
Lewis Hamilton is ready for at least another three years in F1 after being fired up during lockdown.
The six-time world champion, 35, is in talks over a new deal withMercedes, which could be worth up to £60million a year.
Hamilton’s current contract expires at the end of this season — his 14th in F1.
But ahead of this weekend’sBritish GP at Silverstone, he insists he has not lost his appetite for racing.
The Brit, who can equal Michael Schumacher’s record seven world titles this season and is five wins off matching the German’s all-time record of 91victories, is also leading the call for increasing diversity within the sport.
PEREZ CORONAVIRUS LATEST
Sergio Perez has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss this weekend's British Grand Prix.
The Mexican, who drives for the Silverstone-based Racing Point team, has been placed into isolation, along with a handful of staff who he made contact with.
Perez, 30, took a pre-event test that was inconclusive but a second test on Thursday has confirmed the diagnosis.
The British GP will still go ahead as planned and the team are now weighing up who will replace him.
A statement from Racing Point said: “Following the announcement that Sergio has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Silverstone Circuit ahead of the Formula 1 Pirelli British Grand Prix, the team regrets to announce that he will be unable to participate in this weekend's race.
“Sergio is physically well and in good spirits, but he will continue to self-isolate under the guidelines of the relevant public health authorities, with safety the ultimate priority for the team and the sport.
“The entire team wishes Sergio well and looks forward to welcoming him back into the cockpit soon.
“Our intention is to race two cars on Sunday. We will communicate the next steps for our British Grand Prix weekend in due course.”
Perez is the first driver to test positive since the sport returned on July 5th with a double-header in Austria and one race in Hungary.
Lewis Hamilton revealed that he has gone electric with a newfound love of Smart cars.
The Formula One world champion has taken up an increasingly green mantra in recent years despite previously thinking he would always remain a petrolhead.
He said: “I was growing up in the petrol era. I’d been one of those people who were kind of thinking ‘I’m never going to drive an electric car’.
“And now I have the EQC and I have an electric Smart car, which I love and I only drive those cars now.
“All of us have to make adjustments in our mind. I’ve just been more open minded and now I love it so much, that I’m changing all my cars to electric.
“And the great thing is it has a positive impact on the environment.”
Lewis Hamiltonis ready to spend at least another three years in F1 – after being fired up during the coronavirus lockdown.
He said: “I would say that the COVID lockdown, when we had the first part of the season cancelled, in some ways it gave a lot of life, a lot of energy to focus on some other things.
“That bit of time off was really a bit of breathing space. It gave me a renewed bit of energy to perhaps go longer.
“There is a point at which physicality and the mental side tail off, and I don't know when that's going to be, but I don't see that happening in the short term, in the next two or three years.
“Also we're in a period of time where there's not another driver from my background coming up at the moment, and I'm conscious of that as well.
“So my goal is to continue to deliver for as long as I can, I do see myself going for at least another three years.”
Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean have patched things up over their race row – with the Frenchman apologising to the F1 champ.
Hamilton singled out the Haas driver, who is also a director of the Grands Prix Drivers Association, for showing a lack of support for F1's end racism message.
After the Hungarian GP, Hamilton said Grosjean “was one of them that thinks it was done once that that's all we need to do” – and said the message had dropped off F1's agenda.
The two had a 45-minute telephone call to clear the air in which Grosjean explained he was only trying to represent those drivers who were not comfortable with taking a knee as part of the pre-race protests.
Hamilton said: “I was already impressed by our conversation and his approach to our conversation.
“He is clearly a caring person. It's not easy for anybody to admit they're wrong. And that's a great first step.
“We're really working towards the same end goal, so I really really appreciate that from Romain.
“That's what it is going to take from all of us; open up our minds, don't put barriers up, don't be defensive, be open-minded.
“Acknowledging that there is an issue is obviously sometimes the first step and then work towards making it better.”
Romain Grosjean has apologised to Lewis Hamilton for not getting fully behind F1's anti-racism message.
Hamilton singled out the Haas driver, who is also a director of the Grands Prix Drivers Association, claiming after the Hungarian GP that “he was one of them that thinks it was done once that that's all we need to do”.
Grosjean had a 45-minute telephone call with the world champion to clear the air, in which he apologised and also said he was only representing those drivers in the GPDA who had concerns about the anti-racism message.
He said: “It was a really good chat about many things, Formula One in general, but obviously the subject was 'end racism'.
“I explained to Lewis that maybe I did it wrong, maybe I did it right. I don't know. It felt right at the time that we [him and Sebastian Vettel] are two directors in the GPDA.
“Seven or eight drivers were not happy to carry on the ceremony, as it was done, in race one in Austria.
“I said to Lewis that I felt that as one of the directors, okay, Sebastian was pushing in the direction of carrying on with 'end racism', which is the right approach.}
“I was speaking for the drivers that were not happy to carry on, to express their voice as a director of the GPDA.
“Now thinking about it, it was probably the wrong thing to do, and Lewis put some good arguments, I did, too. But I think it was the wrong thing to do.
“It was a good chat with Lewis. I said sorry, that maybe I did it the wrong way but I felt I had to do what I had to do at the time because at the GPDA we work on a majority vote system.
“I felt that as one of the directors listening to the guys not happy to carry on, then I wasn't doing my duty.”
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