British GP | Hamilton tops red-flagged FP3

Lewis Hamilton tops final practice at the British Grand Prix.

Narrow margins separate the Silver Arrows at the British Grand Prix, with Hamilton topping the final practice session by six-hundredths of a second. But while Rosberg recovered lost running from a water leak, Sebastian Vettel was struck with another gearbox failure as Ericsson crashed out.

After missing out on any running in FP2 when his Mercedes developed a water leak, Rosberg lapped the Silverstone circuit more than any other driver in FP3.

Across those laps, Rosberg carried out three initial install runs with intermediate tyres before moving on to the hards for a set of timed laps – running in the high 1:42s firstly before lowering into the 1:33s.

Early runs by the entire field were done on the wet compound of tyres, after a light spell of rain during GP3 qualifying left the circuit damp.

When soft tyres were fitted on to the cars, Hamilton moved 0.045 seconds clear of Rosberg – who had set the benchmark 1.8-seconds clear of Vettel (on the mediums).

Hamilton was able to edge slightly further away from Rosberg with a later timed lap. Although a red flag brought all running to a halt for a quarter of an hour as the marshals rebuilt the barrier along pit entry.

Marshals were required to rebuild the tyre barrier after Marcus Ericsson crashed out heavily from the session after dropping a wheel onto the wet astro turf.

The lack of grip on offer from the astro turf sent Ericsson into a spin towards the tyre barrier, before coming to a rest on entry to the pits with a heavily deformed car.

Along with all four corners of the Sauber deforming on impact, the steering wheel of Ericsson’s car also detached on impact.

After the barrier was repaired and the session re-engaged for the final five minutes, Hamilton and others were able to find late gains.

Carlos Sainz was among the drivers to find gains in his final run – as the Spaniard moved up to fifth place.

Vettel too was able to improve as he demoted the Toro Rosso to sixth. Although as Sebastian crossed the line, the gearbox in his Ferrari failed for the second time this weekend.

Should Vettel need a replacement gearbox, it will leave him with a five-place grid penalty for the second race in succession.

Marcus Ericsson’s damage Sauber could leave the cash-strapped team scratching their heads as they seek to repair the time in qualifying. Although a pit-lane start for tomorrow’s British Grand Prix is the more likely outcome.

Pos Driver Laps Time Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton 9 1:30.904  —
2 Nico Rosberg 17 1:30.967 0.063
3 Daniel Ricciardo 6 1:31.488 0.584
4 Max Verstappen 7 1:31.561 0.657
5 Sebastian Vettel 10 1:32.049 1.145
6 Valtteri Bottas 14 1:32.736 1.832
7 Fernando Alonso 10 1:32.754 1.85
8 Nico Hulkenberg 13 1:32.798 1.894
9 Kimi Raikkonen 12 1:32.833 1.929
10 Carlos Sainz Jr. 9 1:32.889 1.985
11 Esteban Gutierrez 11 1:32.895 1.991
12 Jenson Button 10 1:33.042 2.138
13 Romain Grosjean 12 1:33.344 2.44
14 Sergio Perez 12 1:33.361 2.457
15 Felipe Massa 13 1:33.440 2.536
16 Daniil Kvyat 9 1:33.538 2.634
17 Felipe Nasr 9 1:33.710 2.806
18 Jolyon Palmer 12 1:33.769 2.865
19 Kevin Magnussen 9 1:34.049 3.145
20 Rio Haryanto 13 1:34.471 3.567
21 Marcus Ericsson 7 1:34.551 3.647
22 Pascal Wehrlein 11 1:34.658 3.754