National

Hamilton tops final British F1 GP practice

By AAP Newswire

Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes has returned to the top of the timesheets in the final practice for the his home race, the British Grand Prix.

Hamilton, a five-time winner at Silverstone, posted a best lap of 1:26.722 seconds around the 5.891-kilometre course but Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari was just 0.093 seconds behind.

Raikkonen's team-mate, Sebastian Vettel, was fourth behind Valtteri Bottas in the other Mercedes ahead of what looks set to be a tightly matched qualifying later.

The Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Australia's Daniel Ricciardo were fifth and sixth but well off the pace.

Hamilton is a point behind in leader Vettel in the title race but is seeking a record sixth British GP win on Sunday.

Meanwhile, New Zealander Brendon Hartley faces a race against time to have his Toro Rosso ready for qualifying after a suspension failure led to a big crash at turn 6.

Hartley's car dug into the grass before he flew across the gravel and head on into the tyre wall at Brooklands.

Miraculously, the 28-year-old emerged from his destroyed car, and walked away without significant injury.

He gave the thumbs up to the crowd, and racetrack medicos say he will be fit to race on for the remainder of the weekend.

"He's a bit shocked, but OK," said Hartley's team mate Pierre Gasly, whose car was thoroughly checked afterwards for signs of any similar suspension problem.

The final running ahead of qualifying later on Saturday was suspended for 12 minutes to deal with Hartley's wreckage.

To emphasise the drama of the crash, Ricciardo was left open-mouthed as he watched a replay of Hartley's shunt from the Red Bull garage.