British GP: Hamilton fastest in FP3, as rain hits Silverstone

After being out paced by his team-mate on Friday, Hamilton bounced back, with Vettel slotting in ahead of Bottas. Rain hits the final 20 minutes, with Qualifying due to start at 13:00pm UK time.

British GP: Hamilton fastest in FP3, as rain hits Silverstone
Hamilton is now on the front-foot going into Qualifying, but can he take his third successive Pole at Silverstone? (Image Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton topped Third Practice for the British Grand Prix, lapping Silverstone 0.032s quicker than Formula 1 title rival Sebastian Vettel. 

Hamilton's super-soft tyre time of 1:28.063s is quicker than what Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas managed in First and Second Practice. It was just three hundreds faster than Vettel's Ferrari and 0.074s quicker than Bottas.

Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, but over a half off the pace, with Nico Hulkenberg a surprisingly ahead of both Red Bull's in fifth, but 1.4s slower than Hamilton. 

Romain Grosjean was the meat in the Red Bull sandwich in seventh, Daniel Ricciardo ahead, Max Verstappen behind as Felipe Massa and Stoffel Vandoorne rounded out the top 10 positions. 

Threat of rain sees early running

The possibility of a shower meant the in the early minutes of the 60 minute session, there was a lot of running, as teams tried to finish all of their practice programmes. 

It was Bottas who topped this early part of the session, a soft tyre shod time of 1:28.827s being enough, before Hamilton's own soft timed lap brought a result of 1:28.747s.

That was the fastest soft tyre time, as the teams then switched to the high performance qualifying runs earlier than usual to ensure they were completed before track conditions became less than favourable when the rain did come. 

On the super-soft Pirelli tyres, Hamilton was able to produce a 1:28.063s, which first Vettel and Bottas both failed to improve on, Vettel by the 0.032s margin which secured him second in the session and Bottas evantually by 0.074s, having whittled that down from nearly two ten tenths. 

Rain catches Verstappen out

Verstappen did not complete a timed lap in dry conditions on the super-soft tyres, after Red Bull left it too late to send him out, leading to abort his lap at Brooklands.

The rain also prevented Carlos Sainz Jr and Lance Stroll from completing a timed lap on the super-soft positions, their finishing positions of 17th and 20th not being reflective of their car's pace.

As the rain did come down in the final moments, all 20 drivers headed out to get a feel for track conditions, with Ricciardo and Sauber's Marcus Ericcson, who occupied 19th place, both spinning. 

2017 British Grand Prix - Third Practice Classification

Position Driver Team Time/Gap
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:28.063s
2. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +0.032s
3. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +0.074s
4. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +0.669s
5. Nico Hulkenberg Renault +1.417s
6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull +1.549s
7. Romain Grosjean Haas +1.756s
8. Max Verstappen Red Bull +1.841s
9. Felipe Massa Williams +1.896s
10. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren +2.025s
11. Fernando Alonso McLaren +2.075s
12. Esteban Ocon Force India +2.109s
13. Kevin Magnussen Haas +2.207s
14. Joylon Palmer Renault +2.239s
15. Sergio Perez Force India +2.353s
16. Danill Kvyat Toro Rosso +2.441s
17. Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso +2.452s
18. Pascal Wehrlein Sauber +2.558s
19. Marcus Ericsson Sauber +2.567s
20. Lance Stroll Williams +3.295s