British GP - Saturday - Practice Session 3 Report

Split 'em up

Lewis Hamilton, British GP 2017

Lewis Hamilton, British GP 2017 

 © RV Press


By Dan Knutson in Silverstone

Free Practice 3 for the British Grand Prix ended with the Mercedes and Ferrari teammates splitting each other up. Hamilton was quickest in his Mercedes ahead of Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) and Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari).

The ambient temperature at the start of the 60-minute session was 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Centigrade). There was an 80 percent chance of rain.

The lineup for the weekend was: Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas; Red Bull TAG Heuer - Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen; Ferrari - Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen; Force India Mercedes - Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon; Williams Mercedes - Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll; McLaren Honda - Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne; Renault - Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer; Toro Rosso Renault - Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz; Haas Ferrari - Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; Sauber Ferrari - Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein.

Bottas had been quickest in FP1 and FP2, with his best time being a 1:28.496 on Pirelli's super soft compound tires.

"We started the weekend well," he said Friday. "Since the first practice the balance of the car was not too far away, but there's definitively more work to do to get the car more driveable, to be able to trust it more in the high-speed corners."

The bad news is that he will have to take a five-place grid penalty for getting a new gearbox. So would Ricciardo.

Hamilton set the early pace with a 1:29.544 on the soft compound tires. Bottas used the same compound to get a 1:29.393 and then a 1:28.827.

The Ferrari drivers could not beat that even though they were on the super soft Pirellis. Nor the 1;28.747 that Hamilton then posted.

The order was now Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Ocon and Sainz one-third of the way through the session.

Just before the midpoint of FP3 Bottas headed out on the super softs as did Hamilton. The latter improved to a 1:28.063. Bottas did a 1:28.214.

The Ferrari drivers were also on the supers. Vettel set a time of 1:28.095 and Raikkonen a 1:28.977.

So the order was now Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas and Raikkonen. Hulkenberg jumped up to fifth ahead of Ricciardo, and Verstappen who had yet to try the super softs.

The drivers had been reporting sprinkles, and with 18 minutes to go, the track was officially declared wet. Everybody headed for the pit garages and stayed there until Vandoorne took on a set of intermediate rain tires and headed back out. But he did just one lap.

Verstappen's lap on the super soft Pirellis had been spoiled by the rain, and now he tried the inters. Others were also now going out to get some wet running practice. Ricciardo had a spin in the final turn but avoided the pit wall.

The final top 10 order was: Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Grosjean, Verstappen, Massa and Vandoorne.

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