Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel admitted that he was out to prove a point on Friday at Silverstone.

He was top of the timesheets with a lap of 1:27.552s, which was almost two tenths faster than Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Its the first time this season that he’s been on top of a Friday free practice. And he admitted that he’d wanted to prove to himself and the rest of the paddock that Ferrari could be fast right out of the box.

“It’s been a good Friday,” he said. “We’ve had rough Fridays [in the past], but for a change, it seems like a good Friday.”

He said that it was important to prove that Mercedes didn’t automatically have the run of things on the first day of a Grand Prix weekend.

“We try to kill their magic,” Vettel said. “Obviously that’s what we have tried over the last years and I think here and there we have succeeded quite well.”

Silverstone is usually a strong circuit for the Silver Arrows, so for Ferrari to be fastest at the end of Friday’s two 90-minute session sends an important message heading into the rest of the weekend.

“It’s true that they are very strong around here and we expect them to be very strong tomorrow,” Vettel acknowledged. “But I hope we can be there and I hope we can be close.

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“That would be very good news,” he added.

“Historically [Silverstone] has not been a very strong track for us. But today has been a good start, and hopefully we can improve tomorrow.

“This track may not see us as favourites, but with regard to last year I think our car has more potential,” he said. “It’s up to us to find the way to get the most out of it.”

In recent outings, Vettel has complained of not being able to get the best out of the Ferrari on the first day. Not so this week.

“Everything we put on the car seemed to work,” he said. “It’s a small step in the right direction

“But more important was that the balance was there right away and I felt a good rhythm from the start of the day.

“The tyres are hot – too hot! – but I think it’s the same for all of us. Obviously the magic this weekend will be to try and keep them as cool as possible.”

Vettel’s team mate Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest behind Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. Raikkonen was half a second slower than Vettel but comfortably ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

“It’s difficult to know which team will dominate this weekend,” suggested the Finn. “Obviously there are many factors that might affect or help us over the weekend.

“If you look at the last race, where we came second and third and it was hot,” he said. “It’s a different place and slightly different tyres with less rubber on it, so we’ll see on Sunday.

“But so far everything is okay and I prefer it’s warm and nice than cold and rainy.

“I think it was a normal Friday for us and for sure we have things to improve. But there wasn’t any reason for this not to be the same as any other Friday.

“I think that if we can put things where we want them to be and do our best, we can score good points.”

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