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Mick Schumacher threw down an early gauntlet to his Formula 2 rivals after setting the early pace and with it the fastest time of a red hot Free Practice session.

As the summer heat soared Silverstone turned into a potential tyre cooker.

Practice began with the track temperature at 44 degrees as hard tyres were used for the early stages of the session.

First to set the early pace was Jehan Daruvala with a 1:41.289 – just under two-tenths faster than his Carlin teammate Yuki Tsunoda.

Callum Ilott, however, ended Daruvala’s reign as the fastest man on track with the Brit breaking into the 1:40s to go fastest ahead of Jack Aitken.

Marcus Armstrong was the first to face the scorn of the stewards as his lap time was deleted for track limits infringement.

Daruvala went back to the top of the timesheets as he bagged a 1:40.280.

Carlin reclaimed their one-two with Tsunoda going second fastest.

It was another bad start to Practice for Giuliano Alesi as the Frenchman spun on the exit of the Brooklands straight.

Unlike last weekend Alesi managed to keep the engine firing and came back on track.

Schumacher was next to show his hand as the German went top with a time of 1:40.073 just over two-tenths faster then Daruvala before the German broke into the 1.39s.

The German was then joined at the top of the timesheets by teammate Robert Shwartzman who was just over two-tenths behind the German with a time of 1.40.044 to go second fastest.

Last weekend’s race winners Nikita Mazepin and Dan Ticktum had a low key start to the weekend with the Russian 10th with a time of 1.40.370 – just over half a second behind the PREMAs.

Ticktum languished in 15th and was just over a second behind Schumacher.

Mazepin, however, didn’t wait around for long in 10th and put in a storming lap with a 1.39.383, four-tenths quicker then the German.

The Russian’s joy was shortlived as Mazepin and Pedro Piquet had their lap times deleted by race control for track limits infringement.

Marino Sato’s weekend had a firey start as his Trident’s Mechachrome engine-blew up in a cloud of flames on the front straight.

The Japanese driver’s session ending early as the red flag was brought out to remove the stranded Trident.

After a quick and swift recovery from the ever efficient British marshals, the session restarted with just under 12 Minutes left to go for drivers to improve their time.

With just over five minutes left in the session, the top three were Schumacher by +0.031 seconds ahead of fellow Ferrari Academy junior driver Louis Delétraz, and Ticktum finished just over two-tenths behind Schumacher in third place.

The top 16 were separated by just under a second.

At the end of the session, the top three stayed with Schumacher fastest overall from Delétraz and Ticktum.

Shwartzman, Sean Gelael and Tsunoda finished off the top six.

Jack Aitken still managed seventh despite a late 360 ahead of Daruvala, Guanyu Zhou and Christian Lundgaard who rounded off the top 10.

Callum Ilott was only 11th fastest, with Ghiotto 12th and Mazepin a puzzling 13th whilst Armstrong could only manage 14th.

Piquet finished 15th ahead of both the MP’s of Nobuharu Matsushita and Felipe Drugovich.

Alesi was 18th, Sato 19th, Artem Markelov 20th – with Roy Nissany and Guilherme Samaia completing the timesheets.

*Image Credit: (c) Formula Motorsport Limited

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