Hitech Pulse-Eight’s Luke Browning started his and his team’s home event in fine form, setting a 1:45.794 to lead the way in Free Practice. Championship leader Gabriel Bortoleto followed closely in second position for Trident, with Dino Beganovic the highest-placed PREMA Racing driver in third.
Sebastián Montoya got the weekend rolling with a 1:48.957 and the initial time to beat. Leonardo Fornaroli and then Franco Colapinto quickly beat that, with the MP Motorsport driver’s 1:47.099 putting him top with half an hour left to run.
The times continued to fall as Browning put in a 1:46.493 to take over the lead.
There was contact between Kaylen Frederick and Zak O’Sullivan at Turn 16 as traffic began to build up and drivers searched for clean air. The Briton was able to continue in the session, but the ART Grand Prix driver was out after sustaining suspension damage and recovering to the pitlane.
Browning continued to lap quickly, lowering his best to a 1:45.946 before a Virtual Safety Car was deployed to recover debris left by Frederick and O’Sullivan’s contact.
Back to green flag conditions, there were very few improvements until the final 12 minutes as Bortoleto moved himself up to second on a 1:46.075.
Once again though, Hitech’s Browning lowered his best time, setting a 1:45.794 to keep Bortoleto almost two-tenths behind him. Beganovic was another late improver, rising to third in his PREMA Racing #2 car as the top three remained the same for the remainder of the session.
Fornaroli ended up fourth for Trident ahead of Josep María Martí. Grégoire Saucy finished sixth ahead of Paul Aron, Gabriele Minì , Zak O’Sullivan and new Rodin Carlin arrival, Max Esterson.
Qualifying is set to get underway at 14:10 local time at Silverstone.