Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Lewis Hamilton topped the timing screens during the final free practice session of the weekend at Silverstone. The session began heating up in the final few minutes. He was just nine hundredths of a second ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg. The session started out damp, which was eventually halted for some time due to Marcus Ericsson suffering a heavy shunt with twenty minutes of the session left. Teams were just getting their cars and drivers ready to complete a qualifying simulation during the session when the red flags were brought out, they stayed out for fifteen minutes so that Ericsson could get medical attention as well as having the car recovered and barriers repaired. This left the remaining drivers with just five minutes to get in some quick lap times. Hamilton set a fantastic time of 1:30.904 on the soft compound tyres. This was the fastest time seen from the weekend so far. Rosberg was playing catch up during the session after having to sit out of free practice two on Friday due to a water leak.
Daniel Ricciardo finished the session in third with half a second between himself and Rosberg. Red Bull Racing would be pleased to have finished ahead of both Scuderia Ferrari drivers during the final practice session. Fellow Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen finished the session in fourth and had been ahead of teammate Ricciardo before the red flags but finished one tenth down on his teammate.
In fifth place was Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, the red flag disturbed Ferrari’s session as they were about to test the soft tyre compound. With just five minutes of the session remaining after the red flags the German was seen gesturing wildy as the session resumed before reporting to the team via the radio that the gearbox was failing. The gearbox has only been fitted on Saturday ahead of the session.
Williams Martini Racing’s Valtteri Bottas ended the session in sixth place ahead of McLaren-Honda’s Fernando Alonso. Nico Hulkenberg in the first of the Sahara Force India cars finished the session in eighth. Ninth place was taken by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen who was just under two seconds below the leading time set by Hamilton. Carlos Sainz rounded out the top ten drivers in the session for Scuderia Toro Rosso. Esteban Gutierrez finished ahead of his Haas F1 teammate Romain Grosjean by taking eleventh. Jenson Button took twelfth. Grosjean took thirteenth place with Force India’s Sergio Perez taking fourteenth.
Felipe Massa was down in fifteenth for William’s Martini Racing ahead of Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat. Sauber F1 Team’s Felipe Nasr finished in seventeenth after having a moment at Vale where he lost the rear of the car under braking on the approach resulting in spinning the car. He managed to continue after getting back facing the right way, teammate Ericsson was the unlucky person to end the session in the tyre walls earlier in the session.
Renault Sport F1’s Jolyon Palmer finished the session in eighteenth, three tenths ahead of his teammate Kevin Magnussen. Rio Haryanto was next in nineteenth for the Manor Racing team. Marcus Ericsson finished his session in the barriers after a high speed crash on the exit of Stowe. The accident occurred after his left rear tyre touched the kerb which sent the Sauber spinning across the circuit into the tyre wall, he was able to climb out of the car unhurt but the car was a lot worse off. All four corners of the C35 were destroyed, this left the Sauber mechanics with plenty of work to do to get the car ready for qualifying providing Ericsson was cleared to compete. Pascal Wehrlein finished the session in twenty-second.
©Fay Tilley 10th July 2016.