Hamilton comes first as rain hits Silverstone


Lewis Hamilton clocked a best time of one minute and 28.063 seconds in the opening spell before rain intensified with 20 minutes remaining.

Hamilton’s best lap was 0.032 seconds quicker than Vettel’s, the two main title challengers producing their best form ahead of team-mates Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen.

The Briton is bidding for a fourth successive win on home soil and a record-equalling fifth overall to enable him to cut into Vettel’s 20-point lead in the title race after nine of this year’s 20 races.

Bottas had been fastest in both of Friday’s sessions, but is expected to be hit with a five-second grid penalty for having an unscheduled gearbox change.

Nico Hulkenberg was fifth quickest for Renault ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who also faces a likely five-place penalty for the same reason.

The changing weather gave the teams a chance to send their drivers out for the final minutes on intermediate tyres after Max Verstappen had gone off the track, but without damage.

Ricciardo produced a spectacular moment when he lost control of his spinning car at Club corner, but managed to catch it before hitting the wall. Romain Grosjean was seventh for Haas ahead of Verstappen, Felipe Massa of Williams and Stoffel Vandoorne, in the leading McLaren.

Fernando Alonso was 11th in the second McLaren, but after an engine change is due to start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid when all of the penalties are finally confirmed.

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