Charles Leclerc set the fastest time during the final practice session for the upcoming Grand Prix at Silverstone. Leclerc clocked in at 1m27.419s before a light rain shower affected track conditions. Max Verstappen initially took the lead with a time of 1m28.836s on medium compound tires, but the Ferrari duo of Leclerc and Carlos Sainz quickly posed a threat. Despite running on softer tires, neither Leclerc nor Sainz could match Verstappen‘s pace in the final sector. Leclerc settled for second place with a time of 1m29.000s.
The two Mercedes cars, driven by George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, then made their presence known as they climbed up the leaderboard. Russell split the Ferraris with a strong performance, while Hamilton posted a lap just 0.13s slower than Verstappen‘s benchmark time. Hamilton‘s lap was achieved on the softer tire compound.
Verstappen improved his time to 1m28.266s, but Sainz, on his next lap with soft tires, managed to surpass Verstappen with a time of 1m27.964s. Leclerc followed suit and moved ahead of Verstappen as well, but he was still 0.1s slower than Sainz‘s benchmark.
Hamilton later reclaimed the top spot with a time of 1m27.948s, leaving Sainz unable to beat it on his subsequent soft-tyre attempt. However, Leclerc then delivered an impressive performance with a full set of purple sectors, clocking in at 1m27.419s. This lap put him over half a second ahead of Hamilton‘s previous benchmark.
As the session progressed, rain threatened the circuit, with reports of raindrops and lightning in the area. The drivers responded by conducting more soft tire runs in preparation for qualifying.
Unfortunately, Alex Albon experienced an electrical issue with his Williams car, which kept him in the pitlane for the start of the session. Although he managed to set a respectable first sector time on soft tires, he fell short of Leclerc‘s time by 0.173s. In the meantime, Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin moved up to third place.
The rain began to fall, prompting most drivers to retreat to their garages. However, Leclerc decided to stay out for an additional lap on slick tires, perhaps to gauge the changing track conditions.
As the rainfall reduced, some drivers opted to venture out on intermediate tires. Lando Norris was the first to try them, followed by Russell, who suggested that the circuit was dry enough for slicks despite a few drops of rain. Norris briefly slid off the track at Stowe, coinciding with continued rain in that area, and eventually returned to the pits.
Teams such as Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes used the remaining time to conduct further runs on the intermediate tires. However, both Verstappen and Leclerc expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of the intermediates.
Most of the field finished the session by experimenting with intermediate tire runs, preparing for any potential adverse weather conditions that could affect qualifying.
Pierre Gasly secured a spot behind Alonso on the timing board, ahead of Hamilton and Sainz. Williams driver Logan Sargeant continued the team’s strong showing with a seventh-place time. Verstappen ended up in eighth place, followed closely by Russell. Yuki Tsunoda and Nyck De Vries of AlphaTauri finished in 10th and 11th place, respectively, beating out the 12th-placed Norris.
Unfortunately, Norris had an incident during the session that required investigation by the stewards. His McLaren team left a cooling fan at the back of the car, prompting Norris to stop at the pitlane exit while a mechanic retrieved this device. The incident would be reviewed after the session concluded.