Hamilton back on top in FP3 but Hartley has a close call

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Lewis Hamilton put Mercedes back in charge in Saturday's final free practice, in a session marked by a massive crash for Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley.

The Kiwi had a helpless ride into the barriers after suffering a suspension collapse on his Toro Rosso; Fortunately, Hartley emerged unscathed from the spectacular crash.

2018 British Grand Prix - Free Practice 3

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:26.722s15
2Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:26.815s+ 0.093s14
3Valtteri BottasMercedes1:27.364s+ 0.642s17
4Sebastian VettelFerrari1:27.851s+ 1.129s8
5Max VerstappenRed Bull1:28.012s+ 1.290s22
6Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1:28.018s+ 1.296s15
7Charles LeclercSauber1:28.146s+ 1.424s18
8Kevin MagnussenHaas1:28.418s+ 1.696s16
9Romain GrosjeanHaas1:28.554s+ 1.832s18
10Marcus EricssonSauber1:28.814s+ 2.092s17
11Esteban OconForce India1:28.917s+ 2.195s14
12Sergio PérezForce India1:29.066s+ 2.344s15
13Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1:29.070s+ 2.348s17
14Nico HülkenbergRenault1:29.094s+ 2.372s12
15Carlos SainzRenault1:29.133s+ 2.411s15
16Lance StrollWilliams1:29.829s+ 3.107s13
17Sergey SirotkinWilliams1:29.984s+ 3.262s17
18Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1:30.004s+ 3.282s17
19Pierre GaslyToro Rosso1:30.050s+ 3.328s4
20Brendon HartleyToro Rosso3

Silverstone dawned with the promise of another scorching day and indeed temperatures had already risen to 23°C when drivers were given the green light for the final dress rehearsal before this afternoon's thrilling qualifying session.

Both Max Verstappen and Romain Grosjean, the victims of heavy crashes on Friday, were in catch-up mode from the outset.

The Red Bull driver was the first to put a time on the board, although it was an uneventful and desperately slow 1m50.527s lap.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen put in a more relevant 1m27.913s tour with team mate Sebastian Vettel just 0.277s behind.

About 15 minutes into the session however, there was a terrifying moment Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley when the Kiwi crashed on the Wellington straight.

A replay showed the front-left suspension of the STR13 literally collapsing under load, as a hopeless Hartley entered the braking zone. Fortunately, he emerged unscathed from the massive shunt, but was taken to the track's medical center for a routine check-up.

Looks of anguish were seen in the Toro Rosso, where a camera zoomed in on a very worried looking Pierre Gasly, the French driver obviously unsettled by the failure of his team mate's car.

The incident also cast a doubt on Hartley's presence in qualifying later this afternoon as the Faenza-based outfit will require answers about why the failure occurred - something of particular interest to Gasly - and if the car can be repaired in time.

When the session resumed, Hamilton put himself at the top of the timesheet, running a lap in 1m27.442 on Pirelli's soft tyre.

It was a short stay at the top however for the Mercedes driver who was quickly edged out by Raikkonen, the Ferrari final effort yielding a 1m26.815s that left Hamilton over half a second behind.

The four-time world champion - down in third position after Bottas' improvement - geared up for another flyer, duly beating the Ferrari by 0.093s to end the morning ahead of the field.

Raikkone remained second, in front of Bottas, Vettel and the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo. Vettel remained on the sidelines in the final part of the session, the German suffering from a sore neck.

Sauber's Charles Leclerc enjoyed a productive practice run, coming in seventh, just 0.128s down on the second Red Bull.

Haas boys Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean, and Marcus Ericsson rounded off the top ten.

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