Formula 1

Hamilton on top ahead of British GP qualifying

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Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver Lewis Hamilton narrowly pipped Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen to top spot in final practice for Formula 1’s British Grand Prix, after a huge crash for Brendon Hartley. 

Finn Räikkönen initially held the upper hand at the Silverstone Circuit, with his early laps all falling under the 1m:28s mark, to leave him well clear of the rest of the field, including Hamilton who yet to appear on track before the session was stopped.

Red Bull Toro Rosso-Honda driver Hartley had suffered a front-left suspension failure under braking for the Brooklands corner, spearing across the gravel and into the tyre barrier head-on.

Fortunately the New Zealander was injured, but the incident delayed the session by 20 minutes while officials removed the wrecked car and inspected the tyre barriers to ensure that they were safe.

When the session resumed with 33 minutes on the clock, both Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton pumped in quick times on the soft compound Pirelli tyres, although the German was still slower than his team-mates time.

Hamilton’s first timed lap was good enough to split the Ferrari’s but he lowered his time to eventually post a 1m:27.442s lap.

Not to be outdone,  Räikkönen returned to the track and improved his lap-time to a 1m:27.199s. Hamilton then responded with a the first sub 1m:26s lap of the weekend, a 1m:26.722s, which would ultimately prove to be the fastest lap of the session.

Räikkönen would also improve again, but fell 0.093s short of overhauling the Mercedes driver.

Elsewhere, Vettel only completed eight laps in the session, and did not complete a qualifying simulation run and ended up in fourth, over one second behind the pace of Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas slotted into third for Mercedes, albeit 0.642s off Hamilton’s ultimate pace, having completed 17 laps, the most of the top four drivers.

Hartley is likely to miss qualifying following his accident.
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Red Bull off the pace

Aston Martin Red Bull Racing found themselves in an unexpected scrap with Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team driver, Charles Leclerc for ‘best of the rest’ in the session.

Work on the medium tyres early in the session was eventually replaced with high-performance runs, but the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo struggled for out-right pace.

They ended up fifth and sixth, in Verstappen’s favour by just 0.006s, after Leclerc had threatened to place the Sauber within the top five.

His team-mate Marcus Ericsson was also in the top 10, as the Haas F1 Team drivers, Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean ensured that all the Ferrari powered cars were in the top 10 at the chequered flag.

McLaren F1 Team’s Fernando Alonso took his third Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) and MGU-H of the session ahead of the 60-minute session, and was 13th fastest, nearly 1.5s quicker than team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne who languished in 18th.

After team-mate Hartley’s crash, Toro Rosso opted not to run Pierre Gasly again in the session, while they investigated the failure.

As a result, the Frenchman was slowest of the 19 drivers to set a lap-time.

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About author
Jake Nichol is a motorsport journalist writing about the Formula 1 world championship for The Checkered Flag. He is currently freelancing for Autosport, where his work includes IndyCar, NASCAR and UK-wide national race meetings.
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