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Russell tops wet final British GP practice

George Russell topped a treacherously wet final practice hour at the British Grand Prix, with more rain on the forecast for qualifying later today.

FP3 got underway with Silverstone Circuit having been doused by rain through the night and into the morning, with conditions so heavy that the morning’s Formula 3 sprint race had to be postponed until the evening.

The rain had largely subsided in time for the start of F1 practice, but conditions remained difficult, with the circuit yielding little grip in chilly ambient temperatures of just 52 degrees Farenheit.

Intermediate tires were the order of the day, but no sooner had the sessions started than Max Verstappen had spun himself around at Brooklands.

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It was a harmless spin that betrayed the lack of adhesion, but Pierre Gasly wasn’t so lucky just a few minutes later, when he locked his rear axle to send his Alpine spinning into the gravel at the Vale chicane. Beached, the Frenchman’s error forced a seven-minute red flag to recover his car.

Conditions were at their best when the pit lane reopened, and Lewis Hamilton stole an early march, moving to top sport and constantly chipping away at his benchmark time.

It was just past the half-hour mark when teammate Russell leapt into top spot in the second Mercedes, pipping his teammate by 0.035s.

Hamilton looked set to go again, but by now the rain had intensified and track conditions were deteriorating. The intermediate tire remained the compound of choice, but no driver was able to substantially improve as the levels of standing water increased.

It left Mercedes locked in first and second ahead of Lando Norris, the Friday pacesetter 0.185s off the pace after harmless off at Abbey into Farm.

Carlo Sainz was fourth and 0.61s adrift, beating Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc to the place by 0.254s and 0.315s respectively.

Oscar Piastri was almost a second behind his teammate, placing the second McLaren seventh ahead of Fernando Alonso in eighth and the ninth-placed Sergio Perez, who was similarly behind teammate Verstappen.

Nico Hulkenberg was the best-placed Haas driver and the last competitor within 2s of the lead to complete the top 10.

Alex Albon and Lance Stroll followed ahead of Logan Sargeant, Yuki Tsunoda and Valtteri Bottas, who spun early at Loop but continued without damage.

Esteban Ocon was perilously close to following his Alpine teammate into he stones at Vale as the rain intensified in the final half hour but managed to save his front-tire lock-up to continue unscathed to 16th place ahead of Kevin Magnussen.

Daniel Ricciardo ended the session 18th but under threat of a significant penalty for a pit lane infringement.

The RB driver was spotted bizarrely weaving in pit lane as he returned to his box during the red flag, maneuvering dangerously close to rival team mechanics awaiting their drivers. The incident was immediately noted and subsequently placed under investigation.

Zhou Guanyu was 19th ahead of only the beached Gasly.

Story originally appeared on Racer