FP3: Leclerc tops Ferrari 1-2 at Silverstone

Michelle Foster

Charles Leclerc

Ferrari surprised with the 1-2 in final practice for the British GP although Valtteri Bottas didn’t get in a clean lap, almost meeting the barrier on his qualy sim lap.

From the get-go Saturday’s final practice for the British Grand Prix was shaping up to be a trying session for the drivers as they not only had to deal with cooler temperatures at the Silverstone circuit, the track temperature was 23’C, but also gusty wind.

George Russell was the first driver to make his mark, lowering the benchmark to a 1:31.8 when the rain, forecast to intermittently fall throughout Saturday’s action, arrived at Silverstone.

With just a bit of drizzle coming down, Charles Leclerc and Daniel Ricciardo left the pits with intermediate Pirellis but only did a single lap each before returning to their respectively garages.

And then there was silence…

Mercedes broke the silence as Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas took to the circuit on inters with the team conducting “balance checks, just in case there’s anything like this in qualy” said Hamilton’s engineer Pete Bonnington.

Bottas went second, 3.6s down, before the Mercedes drivers, along with Sebastian Vettel, returned to the pits.

And again silence as the track wasn’t wet enough for inters, nor dry enough for slicks.

Halfway through the hour-long session the action finally heated up as the track dried enough for the slicks and the work could begin.

Hamilton laid down the first competitive time of FP3, a 1:28.9 on the soft Pirellis, but that was bettered by Charles Leclerc with a 1:27.4 while Bottas moved up to second place.

Hamilton’s next flying lap – with three purple sectors – saw him take P1 by half a second from Leclerc.

With 10 minutes to go, the track temperature rose to 26’C and the battle for P1 heated up.

Leclerc overhauled the Mercedes drivers with a 1:25.9 while Bottas was blocked on his hot lap by Leclerc and Daniil Kvyat. Kyvat moved over to pass Leclerc at Woodcote and almost sent Bottas into the inside wall.

Vettel jumped up to second place, 0.026s down on his team-mate, while the Mercedes of Hamilton was third  – the reigning World Champion was 0.167s off the pace.

Gasly again got the better of Max Verstappen, finishing P4 to his team-mate’s fifth, with the Red Bull pairing ahead of Bottas and Lando Norris.

Nico Hulkenberg, Ricciardo and Alexander Albon completed the top ten.

1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:25.905 16 laps
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.026s 15 laps
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.049s 20 laps
4 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 0.213s 14 laps
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.535s 13 laps
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.551s 19 laps
7 Lando Norris McLaren 0.784s 14 laps
8 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1.040s 16 laps
9 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1.060s 14 laps
10 Alex Albon Toro Rosso 1.071s 16 laps
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 1.131s 15 laps
12 Carlos Sainz McLaren 1.201s 14 laps
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1.203s 17 laps
14 Romain Grosjean Haas 1.205s 15 laps
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1.370s 16 laps
16 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1.519s 14 laps
17 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1.639s 13 laps
18 Sergio Perez Racing Point 1.693s 11 laps
19 George Russell Williams 3.160s 21 laps
20 Robert Kubica Williams 3.545s 18 laps

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