Lewis Hamilton back on top in final practice at British GP


Lewis Hamilton has accepted an apology from Kimi Raikkonen for their British GP crash and acknowledged the first-lap collision "was a racing incident".

The polesitter had already been overtaken by Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas at the start.

Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was third quickest, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari, Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull and, unexpectedly, Fernando Alonso of McLaren.

"Without the mistakes and the 10-second penalty, it would have been better but I tried".

Raikkonen wasn't happy when told of his 10-second penalty for the incident with Hamilton over the radio but had cooled down by the end of the race.

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Hamilton dropped down to last place but executed a superb recovery drive to second, finishing behind race victor and title rival Vettel.

Bottas began to chip away at Vettel as the Ferrari struggled with its tyres and the lead was down to 4.8s when Vettel stopped on lap 20. It remains to be seen what, if any, impact the issue will have on Vettel's status for qualifying later on Saturday.

"So, I didn't have much to give at that time and needed to take a deep breath. I'm great to have been able to get back to second and minimise the loss", Hamilton said.

Hamilton sat second following the first Q3 runs, just 0.057s behind his German rival.

Carlos Sainz Jr was fastest of those eliminated in Q1 when he was bumped to 16th by Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg's late improvement and said he lost time owing to Magnussen locking up ahead of him into Turn 3.

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Hamilton charged back into the points by lap six and was into sixth four laps later, by which time he was already more than a pitstop behind the race leaders.

"I came here to clarify, if he actually said something like that, I mean, he should be ashamed of himself", Arrivabene said.

Then when Sauber's Marcus Ericsson skidded off with 19 laps left, Hamilton was handed another lifeline with a safety auto. So I was nervous I had lost part of my floor or something because the auto was moving for unknown reasons, but then it started to get better and better, after some tweaks to the settings.

The victory extended Vettel's lead in the drivers' championship to 171 points, with Hamilton on 163.

"If our two drivers make a mistake twice and take the same team out, I would be apologizing". "Nevertheless we knew it was going to be very hard in the end".

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"I'm not the stewards, I can only think they have felt it was a little more serious than what Sebastian did in France", said Whiting.