Leclerc fastest and Vettel second as Ferrari set pace

Lewis Hamilton can keep the good news coming at Silverstone this weekend by winning his home British Grand Prix for a record sixth time in front of the biggest crowd since the days of "Mansell Mania". Ferrari's Charles Leclerc was fifth fastest, with team mate and 2018 race victor Sebastian Vettel a fraction slower in sixth.

And as we know from Austria, with a competitive vehicle underneath him, Verstappen only needs a slight sniff of victory to thrust himself into the fight...

"I knew that the first lap was good but it was not flawless". "My Friday and also FP3 was not good, but then in qualifying we found stability".

It then looked like Leclerc was primed to claim pole, but the Ferrari star also came up narrowly short and said on team radio he had made a mistake at the last corner. We had worked really hard through the session but it just got a little bit away from us.

Afternoon practice went scarcely better for him - he was held in his garage with a hydraulic problem for the first 40 minutes of 90-minute session and ended the day slowest of all bar the chronically underperforming Williams cars. Pirelli believe the tyre wear will be such that the teams will have to adopt a two-stop strategy.

It continues a frustrating run for the four-time world champion, who has been outqualified by Leclerc for three straight races and has not stood on top of the podium since August 2018 at the Belgian Grand Prix.

"Obviously I'm the one chasing, I'm behind but [there are] so many races to go and it's going to be up to me and my performance".

It was Hamilton who profited on both those occasions, converting starts from second into victories in China and Spain.

The drivers will be back out for the third practice at 11am on Saturday, before qualifying takes place at 2pm.

Mercedes have secured seven of the 10 poles this season and an exceptional seven front-row lockouts. "We are not against trying to grow the fan base in the United Kingdom and if a second race helps achieve that, great", he said. During Hamilton's bid for a record sixth home race win, cricket coverage will switch to a secondary channel.

'I'm quite optimistic, ' the German told the media on Thursday, despite sitting 74 points behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

"The long run was good so I hope that I'm able to utilise the tyre advantage we have starting on the mediums and do a good job tomorrow".

"Fingers crossed, the strength in the race should be quite good".

Renault's Daniel Ricciardo was seventh-fastest ahead of the McLaren of Lando Norris.

Kevin Magnussen finished in 16th for Haas, in front of the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.

  • Julie Sanders