Nico Rosberg continues to lead the way after final practice at Silverstone

Nico Rosberg continues to lead the way after final practice at Silverstone

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Nico Rosberg has continued his dominance towards the sharp-end of the order after topping the third and final practice session for this weekend’s British Grand Prix. The German ace only just pipped Lewis Hamilton at the top, with the German marque finishing ahead of reigning Champion Sebastian Vettel in 3rd.

After the terribly inclement weather conditions witnessed yesterday at Silverstone, the Formula 1 paddock was greeted with a dry track ahead of the third and final practice session for Sunday’s British Grand Prix. As the session got underway, the Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg became the first driver to take to the legendary Silverstone circuit. Although many drivers elected to carry out only one installation lap, the Lotus duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean were the first to complete timed laps with the latter producing a 01:34.367.

The 2007 World Champion managed to marginally improve upon his time at the top for the Enstone-based outfit, before Sergio Perez flew to the top for McLaren with a 01:34.154. The Mexican sensation managed to also improve upon his time at the top in the early stages of the session, as Charles Pic ran slightly wide at Turn 13 as he continued to get to grips with the Silverstone circuit. Valtteri Bottas rose Williams to the top with a 01:33.603, before the session was briefly red flagged after Sergio Perez suffered a perilous left-rear tyre failure.

This sudden explosion utterly shredded the Mexican’s tyre, and littered the Silverstone circuit with debris therefore enforcing the red flag delay as the marshals cleared the track. Sergio Perez luckily managed to limp back to the pits, however extensive damage was sustained to the rear of his McLaren in the process. Eventually the session was resumed with Adrian Sutil and Mark Webber becoming the first to return to the track, with the latter quickly rising to the top with a 01:32.560. The Australian sensation then improved upon his time at the top, as the times began to tumble up and down the order.

As the third and final practice session progressed, Lewis Hamilton stormed to the top of the timing sheets for Mercedes with a 01:32.317, a time which the 2008 World Champion managed to marginally improve upon several laps later with a 01:32.140 as Nico Rosberg slotted into 2nd position to once again create a Mercedes 1-2. However, Mark Webber soon returned to the top and ended the German marque’s reign with a 01:32.078, before the British sensation continued to remain competitive and returned to the top with a 01:31.750.

After enduring a frustrating second practice session yesterday afternoon, which included a minor incident, Felipe Massa’s weekend failed to improve during the final practice session after his Ferrari mechanics discovered an engine issue and elected to change the unit as a precaution. Sergio Perez endured an equally frustrating session for McLaren, as the Mexican driver spun at Turn 14 only moments after returning to the Silverstone circuit after his worrying tyre issue. Lewis Hamilton looked on course to improve his time at the top after producing a fast first sector, however the Briton ran wide at Turn 6 and in doing so ruined his lap.

As the final practice session drew to a frenetic conclusion, Nico Rosberg just managed to rise ahead of his team-mate with the fastest time of the session after producing a 01:31.487 as the checkered flag was unfurled signaling the end of the final hour. The German sensation was followed home at the top by team-mate Lewis Hamilton, with reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel 3rd for Red Bull. With all three practice sessions now completed, the teams and drivers will be frantically finalizing their plans ahead of the all-important qualifying hour later in the day.

Pos  Driver               Team/Car              Time       Gap      Laps
 1.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes              1m31.487s           18
 2.  Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes              1m31.633s  +0.146s  20
 3.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault      1m32.037s  +0.550s  20
 4.  Mark Webber          Red Bull-Renault      1m32.078s  +0.591s  17
 5.  Romain Grosjean      Lotus-Renault         1m32.391s  +0.904s  18
 6.  Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m32.440s  +0.953s  19
 7.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari               1m32.454s  +0.967s  18
 8.  Kimi Raikkonen       Lotus-Renault         1m32.459s  +0.972s  22
 9.  Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  1m32.536s  +1.049s  17
10.  Paul di Resta        Force India-Mercedes  1m32.571s  +1.084s  17
11.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m32.580s  +1.093s  15
12.  Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes      1m32.926s  +1.439s  18
13.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams-Renault      1m33.133s  +1.646s  17
14.  Nico Hulkenberg      Sauber-Ferrari        1m33.225s  +1.738s  16
15.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari               1m33.273s  +1.786s  16
16.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Renault      1m33.309s  +1.822s  25
17.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari        1m33.370s  +1.883s  19
18.  Sergio Perez         McLaren-Mercedes      1m33.607s  +2.120s  9
19.  Charles Pic          Caterham-Renault      1m34.971s  +3.484s  18
20.  Jules Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth     1m34.990s  +3.503s  17
21.  Max Chilton          Marussia-Cosworth     1m36.694s  +5.207s  16
22.  Giedo van der Garde  Caterham-Renault      1m37.443s  +5.956s  18

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