Mercedes in control ahead of qualifying at Silverstone
Mercedes took a comfortable 1-2 in final practice ahead of qualifying for the British Grand Prix with Nico Rosberg at the top of the timesheet and Lewis Hamilton just a tenth adrift of his team-mate in P2.
For the bulk of the dry one-hour session Hamilton had traded best times with Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber, with Rosberg in close attendance. But when the field swapped over to the medium tyre, the softer of the two Pirelli options on offer, Rosberg rose the top just as the chequered flag came down, posting a best time of 1:31.487. Hamilton might have been fastest but after setting a session-best time in sector one he went off track in sector two and he had to settle for P2.
Third place was taken by Sebastian Vettel. The Red Bull Racing driver spent much of the session languishing in 20th position but in the final minutes strapped on the medium tyre, put in one flyer and climbed to third. His 20 laps netted him a best time of 1:32.037.
After tussling with Hamilton for three quarters of the session, Mark Webber failed to find a significant improvement on the medium tyre and ended up fourth, albeit just four hundredths of a second behind Vettel.
Fifth-quickest was Lotus’ Romain Grosjean with Daniel Ricciardo sixth in an impressive looking Toro Rosso. Fernando Alonso was seventh for Ferrari, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and the Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Paul Di Resta.
The session was largely incident-free with the only drama coming when McLaren’s Sergio Perez suffered a spectacular puncture early on. With debris scattered across the track the session was briefly red-flagged.
Perez limped back to the pits where repairs on a damaged floor saw him restricted to the garage until the final 10 minutes of the session. When he did get out on track he had another off-track excursion and this time, perhaps reasoning that discretion is the better part of valour, opted to call time on his morning’s work.
British Grand Prix Free Practice Three times
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:31.487
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:31.633 +0.146
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing 1:32.037 +0.550