MX23RW : Tuesday, August 3 07:46:23| >> :120:52136:52136:

Lewis Hamilton beaten to top spot by Max Verstappen in opening practice

Lewis Hamilton beaten to top spot by Max Verstappen in opening practice
© Reuters
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton, bidding to win at the British Grand Prix for a seventh time on Sunday, trailed Red Bull's Max Verstappen by 0.474 seconds.

Lewis Hamilton was beaten to top spot by Max Verstappen in opening practice for the British Grand Prix.

Championship leader Hamilton, bidding to win at Silverstone for a seventh time on Sunday, trailed Red Bull's Verstappen by 0.474 seconds.

Nico Hulkenberg, drafted in by Racing Point at the eleventh hour to replace Sergio Perez, finished ninth.

Hamilton's Mercedes team have been the class of the field so far this term, winning all three opening rounds.

Hamilton, five points clear of team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the top of the standings, predicted that the all-black cars will be difficult to beat this weekend.

But Verstappen's strong pace in the opening action at a sun-drenched, spectator-less Silverstone, suggested Hamilton and Mercedes will not have it all their own way.

Verstappen might have set his best lap on the speediest soft tyre compound – with Hamilton electing to use the slower medium rubber – but Red Bull will nevertheless be encouraged by the Dutchman's time.

Lance Stroll finished third for Racing Point, with Alexander Albon fourth in the other Red Bull. Ferrari's Charles Leclerc finished fifth with Bottas only sixth in the order, more than one second off Verstappen's pace.

Hulkenberg, the German driver with 177 grand prix starts under his belt, was thrust back into the limelight here after Racing Point elected to use his services as a replacement for Perez.

Perez has been sidelined for this race, and probably the ensuing round at Silverstone next weekend, too, after contracting coronavirus.

The 30-year-old returned a positive result on Thursday evening after revealing he visited Mexico to see his sick mother following the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Hulkenberg, who was dropped by Renault at the end of last season, finished sixth-tenths behind team-mate Stroll.

Elsewhere, the session was temporarily red-flagged after Antonio Giovinazzi ran through the gravel at Becketts and shredded his rear tyre. The marshals were deployed to sweep up the debris allowing the session to get under way once again.

McLaren driver Lando Norris finished 13th, one spot behind team-mate Carlos Sainz with George Russell 17th for Williams.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel did not complete one lap after the four-time world champion was restricted to the garage with mechanical problems. It is expected he will be up and running again for the second session which takes place later this afternoon.

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Red Bull's Helmut Marko pictured in July 2020
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States22251764
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee12211750
Great BritainGreat Britain11121235
Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events

· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
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