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British GP: Leclerc edges Vettel, Hamilton in third practice

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British GP: Leclerc edges Vettel, Hamilton in third practice
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Charles Leclerc narrowly topped third practice for the British Grand Prix ahead of Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel, with Lewis Hamilton completing a top three split by just 0.049 seconds.

Leclerc left it late to post his fastest time of 1m25.905s on soft tyres on a cool, drizzly Saturday morning at Silverstone, the lap putting him 0.026s ahead of Vettel.

Mercedes driver Hamilton headed up Red Bull pair Pierre Gasly and Max Verstappen, while Valtteri Bottas ended up sixth-fastest in the second Mercedes.

The arrival of light rain a little more than 10 minutes into the session meant George Russell's early benchmark of 1m31.810s stood for more than half an hour.

Several cars ventured out on intermediates after the shower, including Hamilton, who told his Mercedes team via radio he felt the conditions were good enough to go out on slicks.

The reigning champion soon came in for a set of soft-compound Pirellis, but didn't venture out of the pits at first, waiting until just after the half-hour mark to head out on the red-marked tyres.

Russell's time finally was beaten by Renault's Nico Hulkenberg with 26 minutes left on the clock, the opening salvo in a series of improvements that lasted practically for the remainder of the session.

Both Hamilton and Bottas enjoyed multiple spells leading the way before Leclerc finally set his session-topping time on soft tyres with a little more than nine minutes left in the session.

Vettel made a late move up to second shortly afterwards, also on softs, to move clear of Hamilton, while both Gasly and Verstappen set their best times in the closing minutes to jump Bottas.

McLaren driver Lando Norris made a last-ditch improvement to move up to seventh ahead of the two Renaults of Daniel Ricciardo, running a new chassis on Saturday after his engine failure on Friday, and Hulkenberg, while the top 10 was rounded out by Toro Rosso's Alex Albon.

Carlos Sainz was 12th-fastest in the second McLaren behind the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi.

Daniil Kvyat almost squeezed Bottas into the barriers at Woodcote in the latter stages on his way to the 13th-best time in the second Toro Rosso.

The two Haas cars of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were next up, followed by Kimi Raikkonen's Alfa and the Racing Point machines of Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez.

Russell was predictably shuffled all the way back to 19th after his long early spell out front, ending up ahead of only Williams teammate Robert Kubica.

Session results:

Cla # Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 16 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 17 1'25.905
2 5 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari 16 1'25.931 0.026
3 44 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 21 1'25.954 0.049
4 10 France Pierre Gasly
Red Bull 15 1'26.118 0.213
5 33 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 14 1'26.440 0.535
6 77 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 20 1'26.456 0.551
7 4 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 15 1'26.689 0.784
8 27 Germany Nico Hulkenberg
Renault 16 1'26.945 1.040
9 3 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
Renault 15 1'26.965 1.060
10 23 Thailand Alex Albon
Toro Rosso 17 1'26.976 1.071
11 99 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 16 1'27.036 1.131
12 55 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
McLaren 15 1'27.106 1.201
13 26 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat
Toro Rosso 18 1'27.108 1.203
14 8 France Romain Grosjean
Haas 16 1'27.110 1.205
15 20 Denmark Kevin Magnussen
Haas 16 1'27.275 1.370
16 7 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 15 1'27.424 1.519
17 18 Canada Lance Stroll
Racing Point 14 1'27.544 1.639
18 11 Mexico Sergio Perez
Racing Point 12 1'27.598 1.693
19 63 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 22 1'29.065 3.160
20 88 Poland Robert Kubica
Williams 19 1'29.450 3.545
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event British GP
Author Jamie Klein