Leclerc bounces back to lead rain-hit British GP FP3; Albon impresses again with P2

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After missing the whole of FP2 on Friday due to an electrical isssue on his Ferrari, Charles Leclerc bounced back on Saturday morning to comfortably lead FP3, ahead of the yet again impressive Williams of Alex Albon and Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin. The two Red Bull drivers didn’t set a lap on the soft tyres as the rain hit the Silverstone circuit halfway through the session.

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

The drivers were met with very different conditions from what was seen on Friday, with temperatures much cooler and the prospect of rain in the air very much a factor to be considered at all times.

Lando Norris was one of the first cars to go out on track, but had an early moment as the McLaren team told him to stop the car immediately on pit exit, with some cooling fans still on the car. The team sent a mechanic over to the car to remove the fan and Norris continued on his way. The FIA put this incident under investigation.

After missing out on the entirety of FP2 due to an electrical problem in his Ferrari, Charles Leclerc was one of the first cars out on the circuit. Ferrari broke the curfew overnight to work on the Monegasque’s car.

Esteban Ocon reported to be “smashing the ground quite a bit” in his Alpine into Copse corner, with his A523 sparking away over the kerbs in spectacular fashion.

After the initial runs on the first 15 minutes, it was a Ferrari 1-2, with Carlos Sainz leading the field with a time of a 1:27.,964 – faster than Verstappen’s best time on Friday – with Leclerc just over a tenth behind, both on soft tyres. Max Verstappenbset his lap on mediums and was three tenths down on the pair. Russell, Stroll, Perez, Alonso, Hamilton, Norris and Tsunoda completed the top 10.

Lewis Hamilton quickly beat the Ferrari, setting a time of a 1:27.948, for the delight of his home crowd – but that didn’t last long, as Charles Leclerc set a storming lap to go over half-a-second clear of the Briton, with a time of a 1:27.419.

Lando Norris got his McLaren up to fifth fastest as the session hit its one-third mark, but was quickly demoted down to sixth by his fellow Briton Russell.

Logan Sargeant reported that “something blew off” in his Williams, leaving the American to deal with hot air in his arms, but thankfully reported that he is “ok”.

Pierre Gasly got his Alpine up to second place, just under 0.5s behind Leclerc’s earlier time, but was quickly demoted by the pacey Williams of Alex Albon, who set a lap just under 0.2s behind the Ferrari.

Fernando Alonso got his Aston Martin up to third place, just over 0.35s slower than Leclerc, as the rain approached the Silverstone circuit in heavy intensity – with Aston Martin telling Stroll he would have “one lap” and then the rain would hit.

As the rain hit the circuit, the classified order of the top 10, with 33 minutes remaining, was: Leclerc, Albon, Alonso, Gasly, Hamilton, Sainz, Sargeant, Verstappen, Russell and Tsunoda.

As the session hit its halfway mark, the rain increased in intensity, but despite that, Leclerc told Ferrari he would “stay out” but wouldn’t “take risks” on slicks on a wet track. The Monegasque would soon go back into the pits, with the rest of the field also keeping in the garage for a few minutes while the rain hit the circuit.

Featuring outside the top ten, Sergio Perez was unable to get a fast lap on the soft tyres in, leaving the Mexican down in 14th place. His team-mate Verstappen also wasn’t able to get a lap on the softer tires, with his best effort enough for 8th.

Zhou Guanyu didn’t get much running during the session, with the Chinese driver suffering from a battery issue in his Alfa Romeo. He was only able to complete two installation laps.

Home favourite Lando Norris was the first driver out on intermediate tyres, exploring the conditions around the circuit, which didn’t feature much standing water but enough to require the green-walled tires.

Norris reported over the radio that the circuit was “not that bad anywhere”, with turn seven being the wettest. He was the first driver back out on the slick tyres, trying to find the transition point between inters and slicks.

Whilst most drivers ventured out on track on intermediates for the remainder of the session, no improvement of the lap times could be found, as the rain continued to increase in intensity. Charles Leclerc had a spin towards the end of the session on the final corner, but was able to keep his Ferrari running without any major issues.

The final classified order of the top 10 was: Leclerc, Albon, Alonso, Gasly, Hamilton, Sainz, Sargeant, Verstappen, Russell and Tsunoda.

Source: F1