Berlin, 18 July 2021 (dpa/MIA) – Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen of Red Bull topped the timesheets in the last practice session for the British Grand Prix on Saturday, while Lewis Hamilton was eighth.
Verstappen posted a best 1 minute 29.902 seconds around the 5.891-kilometre Silverstone Circuit which will later host a maiden sprint race qualifying in a major shake-up of the weekend order.
The 17-lap sprint race, which has Hamilton in the top grid slot ahead of Verstappen, will set up the starting grid for the British Grand Prix on Sunday and award points to the first three drivers.
Verstappen was followed by the two Ferrari cars, with Charles Leclerc 0.375 second behind, and Carlos Sainz in third.
Mercedes, who has made some improvements to the car ahead of the weekend, seemed to have closed the gap to Red Bull after seven-time world champion Hamilton was first in the qualifying session on Friday.
But the German team were only eight and ninth with Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas respectively in the practice session.
Vertappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez was fifth ahead of the two McLaren cars, with Lando Norris in sixth and Daniel Ricciardo in seventh.
George Russell of Williams finished 11th in another strong performance. He will start the sprint race in position eight.
A massive crowd is allowed to attend a sold-out Silverstone Circuit as F1 welcomes back a full house for the first time since the pandemic began.
Verstappen leads the drivers’ championships 32 points ahead of Hamilton, and Red Bull top the constructors’ standings with a 44-point advantage over Mercedes.