Lewis Hamilton makes a quick start at Silverstone
By Alan Baldwin
SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) - Triple Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton made a quick start to practice for his home British Grand Prix on Friday by beating Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg to the top of the timesheets.
The Briton, hoping to win for the third year in a row at Silverstone, lapped with a best time of one minute 31.654 seconds on an overcast morning.
Rosberg, the championship leader whose lead was trimmed to 11 points by Hamilton after a controversial Austrian Grand Prix in which the pair collided on the last lap, was second in 1:31.687.
Mercedes have said the drivers are on their 'last warning' after that race, with any further collisions likely to see stiff sanctions.
Force India's Nico Hulkenberg was third fastest with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel fourth and Australian Daniel Ricciardo fifth for Red Bull.
Vettel, who tested the sport's prototype 'halo' cockpit head protection system during the session, had what appeared to be a gearbox problem towards the end.
Hamilton could take the lead in the championship for the first time this year on Sunday if results go his way and has spoken eloquently about the boost that he gets from racing in front of a home crowd.
"I personally draw a lot of energy from the fans. There's races where you have a few and races where you have a lot. You come to Silverstone and that's when the energy is in abundance," he said.
"I just absorb that. Seeing people that have saved up to come and spend their money here and put all of their energy towards you getting across the finish line first, it's pretty much impossible to describe how amazing that feels.
"And when there's so many of them, all drivers will talk about it giving you that extra 10th or two on the weekend and I generally find that is the case."
(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)