Practice got underway with conditions decidedly overcast at Silverstone. All three MP Motorsport cars were on track immediately to make the most of the first session of the weekend. The track began to fill up slowly with just under half the field on circuit during the opening 10 minutes.
Barcelona Sprint Race winner David Vidales traded the top spot with Van Amersfoort Racing’s Franco Colapinto during the initial stages as representative times filtered through. The Argentine held the top spot with 30 minutes remaining on a 1:46.312, but the track was rapidly improving.
Championship leader Victor Martins was pushing the limits at Copse corner, running wide and scraping the floor over the exit kerbs, losing his laptime for exceeding track limits in the process. Martins was fighting his car through the final sector on subsequent flying laps but moved to the top spot with 20 minutes remaining on a 1:45.531. Title rivals Jak Crawford and Arthur Leclerc went within 0.150s of him soon after.
Martins’ compatriot Isack Hadjar displaced the ART man at the top entering the final 15 minutes of the session, his 1:45.321 was almost two-tenths clear of home driver Zak O’Sullivan who led the Carlin effort on his and the team’s home track.
Entering the final 10 minutes the search for a slipstream began for the final fast laps. Despite almost dropping the car through several corners in the final sector, Hadjar wrestled his car across the line to post a 0.25s improvement to lower the benchmark to a 1:45.116. Hitech Grand Prix teammate Kaylen Frederick was the closest to him until the final improvements and five minutes of the session.
An MP Motorsport double punch put the team ahead of Hitech, Kush Maini leading Caio Collet, first and second respectively. The Indian driver’s 1:44.661 just shaded Collet’s time by 0.036s. There were a few late improvements as Frederick moved himself back up to third, but nobody could get within half a second of the two MP drivers.