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Leclerc fastest in rain-hit final Silverstone practice

Charles Leclerc bounced back from a desultory day on Friday by topping the times for Ferrari in Saturday’s rain-hit final free practice for this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

The 25-year-old Monegasque clocked a best lap in one minute and 27.419 seconds to outpace Williams’ Alex Albon by 0.173s with two-time champion Fernando Alonso third for Aston Martin, three-tenths adrift.

Leclerc had missed all of Friday’s second session due to electrical issues.

Alpine’s Pierre Gasly was fourth ahead of seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and American rookie Logan Sargeant in the second of the impressive Williams cars.

Defending double world champion and runaway series leader Max Verstappen stayed on medium tyres, as the rest took softs, and was eighth for Red Bull ahead of George Russell in the second Mercedes and Yuki Tsunoda of Alpha Tauri.

Sergio Perez was 14th in the second Red Bull, but his position, like Verstappen’s was not representative of their potential as rain swept across the former war-time airfield midway through the hour’s action.

After Friday’s bright and warm weather, the session began in gloomy and cooler weather with rain threatening.

This added to the pressure on Leclerc, who missed all of Friday’s second session due to electrical issues, and therefore needed to play ‘catch up’ in a limited period.

Predictably, it was Verstappen who set the early pace before Sainz and Leclerc, both on softs, took control at the top before the rain arrived.

This effectively turned the final part of the session into a wet weather test session as the teams, running on intermediates, acquainted themselves with the wet conditions that may prevail for qualifying later Saturday afternoon.

In the wet, it was Verstappen who looked most comfortable and fastest again on his ‘inters’ with the Alpine pair looking like his closest likely challengers.

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