FP3: Normal service resumes with a Mercedes 1-2

Michelle Foster
Valtteri Bottas Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas edged Lewis Hamilton as the cooler temperatures at Silverstone meant normal service, and normal pace, resumed for Mercedes.

After Friday’s sweltering heat, Formula 1 arrived at the Silverstone circuit on Saturday morning to be greeted with grey clouds, blustery wind and a track temperature that was 20’C cooler than Friday.

Sebastian Vettel, who had a nightmare opening day with several different car issues, clocked the first lap of the session, a 1:29.5. He lowered that to a 1:28.8 before being pipped to P1 by Carlos Sainz.

While they were joined out on track by Charles Leclerc, Hamilton and Bottas, Alex Albon was stuck in the pits with an ES problem.

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Strapped into his RB16, which he crashed heavily on Friday afternoon, the car was fired up only for Honda to report an electrical issue with the driver told to switch the engine off.

Hamilton went quickest with a 1:26.8, 0.3s up on Bottas while Leclerc slotted into third place ahead of Sainz.

After a cool down lap, both Mercedes drivers upped their pace with Hamilton extending his advantage, Bottas taking P1 off his team-mate and Hamilton retaking it with a 1:26.3.

Max Verstappen was third ahead of Lance Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg.

The German is filling in for Sergio Perez this weekend after the Mexican driver had to self-isolate following a positive test.

Switching over to qualifying sims for the final 20 minutes, Carlos Sainz put his McLaren up into fourth place ahead of Leclerc and Lando Norris.

But it wasn’t all smoothing running for everyone. Vettel had a hairy moment through Becketts while minutes later Hamilton had a similar wiggle.

Hamilton’s moment allowed Bottas to get the jump on his team-mate, going quickest with a 1:25.8 with Hamilton 0.138s down.

Vettel’s troubles continued with the Ferrari driver reporting that “something is loose again, down by the brake pedal”. He returned to the garage but wasn’t there for long before heading back out for a few final laps.

Racing Point was the last of the teams to do its qualifying sims with Stroll moving up to fourth place behind Verstappen while Hulkenberg went P9.

Albon made a late appearance, his first flying lap time deleted for ignoring track limits. His second put him P13 on the timesheet.

1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:25.873
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.138s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.300s
4 Lance Stroll Racing Point 0.703s
5 Carlos Sainz McLaren 0.791s
6 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.898s
7 Lando Norris McLaren 0.925s
8 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 0.968s
9 Nico Hulkenberg Racing Point 0.999s
10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1.173s
11 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri 1.203s
12 Esteban Ocon Renault 1.285s
13 Alex Albon Red Bull 1.305s
14 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1.378s
15 Romain Grosjean Haas 1.664s
16 George Russell Williams 1.865s
17 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 1.952s
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1.987s
19 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 2.103s
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams 2.239s

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