Lewis Hamilton had to settle for P2 in both Friday sessions, ending the day just 0.047s shy of his pace-setting team-mate, but the Brit loved his first day back in action.
"Today's been a really good start to the weekend and it's great to be back here at Silverstone," said the four-time British Grand Prix winner.
"The track is absolutely incredible with these new cars. It was already one of the very best circuits in the world, but with this car and the speed we are able to carry through the corners, it's just phenomenal, it's like the greatest rollercoaster ride ever.
"We worked through all the sessions, fine-tuning the balance and I think we're in a good position at this early stage of the weekend. We still need to build upon it, but it's a great foundation moving forward.
"Each time I left the garage I gave the fans a wave and I could see them waving back. I just want them to know that I can see them and I really appreciate all the love and support."