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F1 British GP: Hamilton tops FP3 as Ericsson smash stops session

Lewis Hamilton tops damp-to-dry final free practice session for the British Grand Prix; Big crash for Marcus Ericsson causes a lengthy stoppage.
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Lewis Hamilton has topped a damp-to-dry final free practice session for the British Grand Prix as a big crash for Sauber's Marcus Ericsson caused a lengthy stoppage.

With a brief pre-FP3 shower making conditions tricky off-line, Ericsson found this out to his cost when he dropped a left-rear wheel onto the astroturf to the left of the exit kerb at Stowe, the unbalanced grip causing him to lose control of the Sauber and spear into the opposing barrier.

With the impact causing significant damage to the C35, though Ericsson was able to extricate himself from the car, he is unlikely to make it out for qualifying.

Most alarmingly for Sauber though, replays of the incident would also show the steering wheel 'popping off' at impact, striking Ericsson in the chest.

Prompting a red flag period that would stretch for more than 15mins as the barrier was repaired, the session restarted with four minutes on the clock, giving Hamilton enough time to punch in a benchmark of 1min 30.904secs.

Despite losing more track time because of early conditions and Ericsson's crash, Nico Rosberg completed 17 laps and was only six hundredths slower than his Mercedes team-mate.

Red Bull Racing was again Mercedes' closest rivals in third and fourth, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, with Sebastian Vettel in fifth place, the German hitting problems in the final seconds with a potential gearbox issue.

Valtteri Bottas and Fernanddo Alonso headed up the Williams and McLaren challenge in sixth and seventh, ahead of top Force India Nico Hulkenberg, Kimi Raikkonen and Carlos Sainz.
by Ollie Barstow

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