Hamilton edges Kimi in final practice, neck strain hampers Vettel
British Grand Prix - FP3

Hamilton edges Kimi in final practice, neck strain hampers Vettel

07/07/2018

Lewis Hamilton returned to the top of the timing screens during final practice for the British Grand Prix as Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel failed to set a quick lap time after straining his neck midway through the session.

Vettel did not emerge for the second of his two scheduled qualifying simulation runs in final practice after the team tweeted "#Seb5 is having a nuisance on his neck so he is missing this very last part". It's unclear how big an impact the neck strain will have on Vettel's preparations for qualifying, with the Italian team simply adding "See you in #Quali".

Even without Vettel at full fitness, qualifying looks set to be a straight fight between Mercedes and Ferrari, with just 0.093s splitting Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen at the end of FP3. Valtteri Bottas failed to hook up a decent lap and was 0.642s off in third place before a large gap to Vettel's first attempt and Max Verstappen in fifth.

The session was red flagged for over 15 minutes after Brendon Hartley suffered a suspension failure and hit the barriers hard at Brooklands. The front left upright of the Toro Rosso folded in on itself under braking from 200mph, sending Hartley into the gravel before the car launched up and smashed into the barrier.

Hartley managed to walk away from the incident unaided, and after a quick trip to the medical centre was declared fit to drive in qualifying. However, Toro Rosso took no further part in final practice after opting to keep teammate Pierre Gasly's car in the garage until the cause of the accident is better understood.

Verstappen was 1.290s off Hamilton as Red Bull looks to be someway off the pace of the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers. Daniel Ricciardo was sixth, 0.006s off his teammate, and just 0.128s ahead of another impressive performance from Charles Leclerc in the Sauber.

The Ferrari engine appears to be the power unit to have at Silverstone, with Haas and Sauber filling out the top ten ahead of the two Force Indias in 11th and 12th. Fernando Alonso was the fastest of the two McLarens ahead of the Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz and the Williams pair in16th and 17th. It was another difficult session for McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne in 18th with just the two Toro Rossos, which failed to set times, behind him.

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