Lewis Hamilton leads Vettel in British Grand Prix final practice

Following final practice for the British Grand Prix, Chris Soulsby looks at the session which saw Lewis Hamilton set the pace.

Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 WO8 on track during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 15, 2017 in Northampton, England.

After Valtteri Bottas topped FP1 and FP2, the F1 field took to the track for final practice ahead of qualifying for the British Grand Prix. In the session, there was action out on track immediately, with teams dashing out of the pit lane early on due to an 80% chance of rain in the session to perform qualifying simulations.

Lewis Hamilton leads Vettel in British Grand Prix final practice

Heading into the session, the big story was that of Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo, who have both been handed five-place grid penalties for unscheduled gearbox changes this weekend, meaning that the highest position that either driver can start from is sixth place.

In the session with interchangeable conditions, there were very few incidents, and drivers took very few risks out on track as qualifying is right around the corner. Towards the end of the session, there were some spins from Daniel Ricciardo and Marcus Ericsson due to the wet conditions out on track.

Reliability did play a role in the session, and Jolyon Palmer was one driver who had gremlins in the session, suffering from heavy engine vibrations at higher revs in fourth gear. Stoffel Vandoorne also complained about a gearbox issue and a lack of power for McLaren.

When the rain started to pour with 20 minutes to go in the session, it became apparent that very few drivers were intending to run out on track, although some drivers did go out on the intermediate tyres. When the session was over, Lewis Hamilton was fastest for Mercedes, setting a best lap time of a 1:28.063, only 0.032 seconds ahead of his championship rival, Sebastian Vettel. Bottas was only 0.074 seconds off Hamilton in third while Kimi Raikkonen was 0.669 seconds off the pace down in fourth.

After FP3, both Mercedes and Ferrari are looking close to one another in terms of performance, meaning that qualifying is shaping up to be closely fought battle between the two teams. With Valtteri Bottas having a penalty however, he will be aiming for pole position in order to minimize the impact of the grid drop he faces. Ferrari on the other hand will be aiming for the highest qualifying position that they can as usual, aiming to drop Bottas down the field further.

Results from Practice 3 of the British Grand Prix:

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:28.063
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:28.095
  3. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 1:28.137
  4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:28.732
  5. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1:29.480
  6. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, 1:29.612
  7. Romain Grosjean, Haas F1, 1:29.819
  8. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1:29.904
  9. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:29.959
  10. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 1:30.088
  11. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:30.138
  12. Esteban Ocon, Force India, 1:30.172
  13. Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1, 1:30.270
  14. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 1:30.302
  15. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1:30.416
  16. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 1:30.504
  17. Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso, 1:30.515
  18. Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber, 1:30.612
  19. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:30.630
  20. Lance Stroll, Williams, 1:31.358

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