Lewis Hamilton gave the Silverstone fans what they wanted in the opening practice session for the British Grand Prix here this morning, setting the fastest time for McLaren in 1m 21.000s to head the swift Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa. They posted times of 1m 21.211s and 1m 21.285s respectively.
Both McLaren drivers had spins in the slightly greasy conditions, Hamilton in Abbey, Fernando Alonso at Priory. The Spaniard was close behind his rivals, with 1m 21.675s.
Robert Kubica was another to spin, as was David Coulthard, at Copse and Priory respectively. Where the Pole was able to recover to lap his BMW Sauber in 1m 22.107s, however, the Scot was through for the morning in his unusually-liveried Red Bull which was decked out in fans photos as part of a new charity initiative by the energy drinks company. Adrian Sutil spun his Spyker at Copse, Jarno Trulli his Toyota at the exit of Club, and Massa his Ferrari at Copse.
In the end it was Nico Rosberg who pipped Kubica to fifth place, taking his Williams round in 1m 22.006s, while the top 10 was completed by Nick Heidfeld in the second BMW Sauber (1m 22.176s), Alex Wurz in the second Williams (1m 22.216s), Ralf Schumachers Toyota (1m 22.878s) and Rubens Barrichellos Honda (1m 22.956s).
Trulli just failed to break the 1m 22s barrier with a lap of 1m 23.030s for 11th fastest time, which was all but matched by Super Aguris Anthony Davidson (1m 23.037s) and Renaults Heikki Kovalainen (1m 23.099s).
Then came Giancarlo Fisichella in the second Renault (1m 23.179s), Jenson Button in the second Honda (1m 23.517s), Takuma Sato in the second Super Aguri (1m 23.548s), the Red Bulls of Mark Webber (1m 23.564s) and Coulthard (1m 23.618s), Scott Speed in the lead Toro Rosso (1m 23.854s), Sutil (1m 23.954s), Tonio Liuzzi in the second Toro Rosso (1m 14.154s) and Christijan Albers in the second Spyker (1m 24.172s).
So far it has been dry, and the forecast remains benign for the rest of the day.