Bird leads the way in home practice

Sam Bird has set the pace in this morning's free practice session in Silverstone, using his local knowledge to come out on top in changeable conditions to lead an iSport 1-3 ahead of Romain Grosjean and teammate Marcus Ericsson.

The Englishman's best lap of 1:41.763 was nearly two tenths quicker than Series rival Grosjean with Bird's teammate half a second off his best time, set with just three minutes remaining in a session that saw times tumble as the track warmed up.

A short shower ahead of free practice saw all of the drivers head onto the circuit on wets, but they all returned to the new pit complex a lap or two later to change onto slick tires. Luca Filippi was the first man back out on track and was soon setting the pace, with Rodolfo Gonzalez initially the only man close to the Italian's times.

But with ten minutes remaining the track was clear enough to push: Grosjean and Bird soon squeezed by on the timesheets, with Filippi coming in for fresh tires before improving his times again, along with most of the field. Giedo van der Garde pushed just a little too hard though: the Dutchman ran wide and found the wall, and will need a new rear wing ahead of this afternoon's qualifying session.

The top ten was rounded out by David Valsecchi, Filippi, Esteban Gutierrez, Max Chilton, van der Garde, Luiz Razia and Jules Bianchi, all of whom will be hoping that the spots of rain appearing immediately after the session will disappear before they return to the track this afternoon.

Silverstone – Free Practice

Pos Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Sam Bird iSport International 1:41.763 10
2. Romain Grosjean Dams 1:41.936 11
3. Marcus Ericsson iSport International 1:42.293 8
4. Davide Valsecchi Caterham Team AirAsia 1:42.305 11
5. Luca Filippi Super Nova Racing 1:42.577 13
6. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus ART 1:42.668 11
7. Max Chilton Carlin 1:42.787 11
8. Giedo van der Garde Barwa Addax Team 1:42.794 8
9. Luiz Razia Caterham Team AirAsia 1:42.840 12
10. Jules Bianchi Lotus ART 1:42.933 12
11. Charles Pic Barwa Addax Team 1:42.949 8
12. Christian Vietoris Racing Engineering 1:42.978 9
13. Michael Herck Scuderia Coloni 1:43.093 11
14. Fabio Leimer Rapax 1:43.128 12
15. Stefano Coletti Trident Racing 1:43.250 12
16. Dani Clos Racing Engineering 1:43.291 9
17. Julian Leal Rapax 1:43.544 10
18. Pal Varhaug Dams 1:43.574 11
19 Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident Racing 1:43.614 13
20. Jolyon Palmer Arden International 1:43.616 11
21. Josef Kral Arden International 1:43.737 12
22. Kevin Ceccon Scuderia Coloni 1:44.053 14
23. Johnny Cecotto Ocean Racing Technology 1:44.188 9
24. Alvaro Parente Carlin 1:44.316 10
25. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova Racing 1:44.389 13
26. Kevin Mirocha Ocean Racing Technology 1:46.477 7

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