13:04 – Valtteri Bottas has clocked the fastest time in the final practice session for the UK Grand Prix. The Finn recorded a 1.25.873 on the Silverstone circuit, while his teammate Lewis Hamilton finished second with a 1.26.011. Max Verstappen was still able to keep up with the Mercedes drivers. The Dutchman sent his Red Bull to a 1.26.173.
After a particularly warm Friday – the temperature was well above 30 degrees – it is a lot cooler on the track in Northamptonshire on Saturday. At the start of the third practice session it was 19 degrees and cloudy. A reasonable chance of rain has even been reported. So very different circumstances, from which the Mercedes team in particular seems to benefit. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas had a relatively difficult first day at Silverstone, but were the fastest men in the last practice session on Saturday.
Hamilton and Bottas exchanged pennies on P1 all training and it was ultimately the Finn who ended the session at the top with a 1.25.873. Hamilton’s best lap time was a 1.26.011, with the reigning Formula 1 champion having to admit almost one and a half tenths to his Mercedes colleague. Max Verstappen only appeared on the track after 26 minutes, but immediately reported to P3. Although the Mercedes duo kept increasing the pace, the Dutchman managed quite well. With a 1.26.173, Verstappen ended up about one and a half tenth from Hamilton.
Lance Stroll, who was the fastest on Friday, came to a 1.26.576 in the final phase of the practice, taking the Canadian from Racing Point to fourth place in the times list. Carlos Sainz Jr., Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris followed in fifth, sixth and seventh. Daniel Ricciardo was good for eighth, while Nico Hülkenberg, who returned for the British Grand Prix, was ninth with the second Racing Point. With a 1.26.872, the German was only a fraction slower than the men who finished above him and only three tenths away from regular driver Stroll.
Alexander Albon saw his dress rehearsal fail due to an electrical problem in his RB16. The British Thai was in the car at the beginning of the training when the problem was discovered and he was able to leave his car. What followed was a long repair that was only completed fifteen minutes before the end. Albon completed ten more laps over Silverstone in the final phase, recording the thirteenth fastest time. Sebastian Vettel is still not doing well. The Ferrari driver, who lost a lot of time on Friday due to a problem with the intercooler and a set of pedals that had to be replaced, got stuck in the last practice hour at the fourteenth time and at one point seemed to actively interfere with the work of the mechanics.
The qualification for the British Grand Prix starts at 3 p.m. Dutch time. The big question is what the weather will be like around that time. At the end of the third training, it was clear how dark clouds were on the way to the circuit.