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Lewis Hamilton fastest in rain-hit final free practice

Hamilton fastest in rain-hit final free practice
By Eurosport

15/07/2017 at 11:08Updated 15/07/2017 at 12:14

Lewis Hamilton boosted his prospects of pole position at the British Grand Prix when he was fastest in final free practice at Silverstone on Saturday morning.

The British driver clocked a lap of 1:28.063 from 18 laps in his Mercedes with title rival and championship leader Sebastian Vettel only +0.032secs behind from 14 laps for Ferrari.

Hamilton's team-mate Valterri Bottas was within touching distance of both men, and only +0.074 seconds behind top spot to suggest the jostle for the starting grid could be tighter still on Saturday afternoon.

All the best times were recorded before the rain tumbled down after 40 minutes of the hour-long session.

Kimi Raikkonen was fourth in his Ferrari.

Hamilton was significantly faster than Friday's best of 1:28.496 and the quickest yet at the former World War Two airfield.

Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was a promising fifth.

Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) - Grand Prix of Great Britain 2017

Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) - Grand Prix of Great Britain 2017Getty Images

Bottas will collect a five-place grid penalty after qualifying, due to an unscheduled gearbox change, as will Red Bull's Australian Daniel Ricciardo for the same reason.

McLaren's Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, collected a massive 30-place drop for various engine penalties, ensuring the Spaniard starts at the back -- a familiar experience for the double champion this season.

The penalties look like turning qualifying into a straight battle between Hamilton and the Ferraris in a session likely to be overcast but with a decreasing likelihood of rain after steady morning drizzle.

A pole for three-times world champion Hamilton would put him just one away from Michael Schumacher's all-time record of 68 and come as a timely boost after two races off the podium that have left him 20 points behind Vettel.

Pole is not crucial at Silverstone, however, although every winner at the circuit since 2000 has started from fourth place or higher. Hamilton has taken the top slot for the last two

Final Free Practice Session from the Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Saturday

  • 1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1:28.063
    2. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 1:28.095
    3. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Mercedes 1:28.137
    4. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1:28.732
    5. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Renault 1:29.480
    6. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull - TAG Heuer 1:29.612
    7. Romain Grosjean (France) Haas - Ferrari 1:29.819
    8. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull - TAG Heuer 1:29.904
    9. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 1:29.959
    10. Stoffel Vandoorne (Belgium) McLaren 1:30.088
    11. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 1:30.138
    12. Esteban Ocon (France) Force India - Mercedes 1:30.172
    13. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) Haas - Ferrari 1:30.270
    14. Jolyon Palmer (Britain) Renault 1:30.302
    15. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India - Mercedes 1:30.416
    16. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso - Renault 1:30.504
    17. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso - Renault 1:30.515
    18. Pascal Wehrlein (Germany) Sauber - Ferrari 1:30.621
    19. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber - Ferrari 1:30.630
    20. Lance Stroll (Canada) Williams-Mercedes 1:31.358