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F1 British GP: Russell fastest from Hamilton in wet FP3

George Russell claimed the fastest time in a wet FP3 session at the British Grand Prix, pipping Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.035 seconds.

Despite a red flag and the effect of continued precipitation throughout the session, a steady level of improvement continued beyond the half-hour mark, allowing Russell to grab the fastest time – still over 10 seconds down on Friday’s dry times – before the conditions worsened.

Rain had fallen all morning long to set up wet and cold conditions at the start of Saturday, although the circuit had since dried up slightly since the earlier postponement of the F3 sprint race.

Early running was tentative, but the circuit was good enough for intermediates as the inclement weather started to subside. Due to the conditions, the lap times were around 20 seconds shy of yesterday’s quickest times, although there was space for early improvement.

Yuki Tsunoda had set the first lap below the 1m50s and then improved to a 1m47.080s on his next attempt, leapfrogging the likes of Charles Leclerc and Fernando Alonso as they produced solid first efforts on the intermediate.

However, the momentum was interrupted by Pierre Gasly’s slip off the road at Vale; the Alpine driver beached his car in the gravel to prompt the session’s pause. A clean-up crew was called upon to extricate the Frenchman’s stranded machinery.

The hiatus lasted for just seven minutes, giving the drivers a chance to get back on track before an expected band of further rain threatened to brush across the Silverstone circuit.

But the track improvement was visible at the restart, as Oscar Piastri went more than two seconds quicker than Tsunoda’s pre-pause lap.

And the times began to tumble: despite the onset rain arriving, it was little more than a sprinkling of light mizzle and thus could not disrupt the track evolution too much.

Thus, the field started to sink below the 1m40s in short order, prompting the trading of times among the Mercedes, McLarens, Ferraris, and Max Verstappen.

The roulette wheel started to slow as the rain started to intensify slightly; this prompted a switch to race-style runs before further increased rain was set to hit the track.

Hamilton set a 1m38.065s, which was beaten by Russell’s 1m37.529s; the elder Mercedes driver attempted to respond with a 1m37.564s, but he was just shy of the mark.

Lando Norris, who headlined FP1 and FP2, was third fastest and 0.185s away from Russell’s benchmark, and almost half a second clear of fourth-placed Carlos Sainz.

Verstappen landed in fifth, ahead of Leclerc and Piastri, while Fernando Alonso improved late to leapfrog Sergio Perez into the top eight. Nico Hulkenberg completed the upper half of the field, 1.8s adrift of Russell’s headline effort.



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