Lewis Hamilton clocked the fastest ever lap time around the Silverstone Circuit’s ‘Arena’ layout in Saturday’s final practice session at the British Grand Prix, narrowly edging out championship rival Sebastian Vettel before the rain started to fall late in the session.
Having trailed Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in both of Friday’s earlier practice sessions, Hamilton proved to be the field’s pace-setter on Pirelli’s Soft compound tyres before improving further when he switched to the Super Soft rubber.
His time of 1:28.063 proved untouchable – but only just – as Vettel gave chase. The Ferrari driver posted purple sector times in the first and second sectors of the lap before a small mistake at Stowe put the German second-quickest, just 0.032 seconds behind.
Bottas – who will cop a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change – was close behind and third-fastest overall, just a further 0.042 seconds behind Vettel.
The top three had some margin over the remainder of the field. Vettel’s teammate Kimi Räikkönen was fourth-quickest, albeit over half a second adrift in the sister Ferrari SF70H.
There was an even bigger gap behind the 2007 World Champion. Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg led the charge in another strong showing for the team to claim fifth-fastest. The German finished ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo – also set to be hit with a five-place grid penalty – and Haas’ Romain Grosjean.
Ricciardo’s teammate Max Verstappen was eighth-fastest, however the Dutchman timed his switch to Super Soft rubber too late in the session and emerged from the pits just as the rain started to fall with 20 minutes of the session left to run.
Williams’ Felipe Massa finished up ninth-fastest ahead of the two McLaren Hondas of Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso.
The showers allowed the field the opportunity for some exploratory runs on Intermediate tyres, although both Ricciardo and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson found themselves caught out by the damp conditions as evidenced by a spin for each of them.
Saturday’s qualifying session – set to take place under overcast skies – will begin at 13:00 local time (GMT +1).
|2017 FORMULA 1 ROLEX BRITISH GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE 3 RESULTS|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Tyre||Laps|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:28.063||18|
|2.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:28.095||14|
|3.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:28.137||20|
|4.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:28.732||15|
|5.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:29.480||14|
|6.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:29.612||15|
|7.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:29.819||14|
|8.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:29.904||13|
|9.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:29.959||19|
|10.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren-Honda MCL32||1:30.088||19|
|11.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda MCL32||1:30.138||17|
|12.||Esteban Ocon||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:30.172||19|
|13.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:30.270||15|
|14.||Jolyon Palmer||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:30.372||16|
|15.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:30.416||16|
|16.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:30.504||20|
|17.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:30.515||19|
|18.||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:30.621||24|
|19.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:30.630||24|
|20.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:31.358||18|
Image via Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
This week’s coverage is proudly brought to you by the forthcoming release of: Contact us for advertising opportunities by clicking here.