F1: Mercedes British GP practice Verstappen brought to a halt

Image ANDREJ ISAKOVIC  AFP

"Max obviously has had a tough first third of the year and all credit to him, he's kept his head, the last three races he's been third, second and first with three very impressive drivers".

"It's going to be very, very close this weekend, the Ferraris are really fast". For qualifying, we will try to do what we can but Ferrari and Mercedes are too fast over one lap. I don't see the necessity to decide every time.

"For a change it seems like a good Friday, but I hope you're right. I hope we can be there". At the start, Hamilton took over the lead of the race, while Bottas dropped down to second place.

The German is just one point clear of British rival Lewis Hamilton, who has also won three Grand Prixs so far.

But Hamilton said he was relishing the challenge from Ferrari - and the evolving Silverstone circuit.

"It's been a really incredible journey since 2007", Hamilton said of his debut season, when he finished third in Silverstone. "It's got to be the best track in the world, it's really ridiculous - it's flying a fighter jet around the track".

Verstappen hit the front after Mercedes kept Hamilton out on track during a virtual safety vehicle period that followed Bottas's retirement, with the other contenders pitting for fresh tyres.

Ricciardo had his own trip through the gravekl trap on the exit of Luffield while minute slater Raikkonen also ventured off the track after thumping the kerb at Brooklands. We think that both failures were confined to the items which failed and they are both things which can be replaced without breaking into the sealed areas of the auto which attract sporting penalties. "That would be very good news". I think we have to be very honest with ourselves and our fans that this is going to be a journey.

"With the speeds we're going now and the G forces we're pulling, I think it's going to be the most physical race of the year".

"I just think all these things are unnecessary, because sometimes.it's not that you lose your mind or you do something insane because you intend to, but you try to push the limits and sometimes you might make a mistake".

Hamilton said during an earlier news conference at Silverstone: "We always come to the grand prix with some epic sport surrounding it, be it Wimbledon or whatever".

"What is the penalty for missing the (post-qualifying) press conference on Saturday?" the Mercedes driver asked at conference on Thursday.

"Probably more like somewhere in-between, but I don't want to get into predictions".

Hamilton also revealed that he is planning to travel to Russian Federation to see the World Cup final next weekend.

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