SPORT

British GP: Mercedes Looking Strong at Silverstone In Final Practice

29/06/2013 11:32 BST | Updated 29/06/2013 12:08 BST

Silverstone was basking in sunshine as the green light switched on at 10am on Saturday morning for the start of final practice ahead of Sunday's British Grand Prix.

All seemed to be going to plan for the first 15 minutes of the session with early pace-setter Valteri Bottas putting in the fastest time in his WilliamsF1 FW35 car on a 1'33.603".

A red flag was brought out due to a Sergio Perez left-rear tyre puncture on the exit of Copse. Perez said over the team radio, "The tyre exploded." Felipe Massa was the next car up the road and drove straight through the tyre carcass, spreading debris across the racetrack. Perez crawled back to the pits and managed to get back out for the final nine minutes of the session, only to spin off at Copse again.

Upon the restart, it was Mark Webber in his Red Bull Racing RB9 putting in a quick time to go fastest on a 1'32.369". Many drivers were pushing the limit throughout as they prepared to qualifying, notably Alonso and Vettel both having trips through the AstroTurf runoff at Becketts.

Towards the end of the session it was the Mercedes pairing of Hamilton and Rosberg who asserted their authority with some blistering laps. Once again, their single-lap pace is looking unbeatable with a clear margin to the chasing pack, lead by the Red Bulls of Vettel and Webber, half a second off the pace.

mercedes f1 2013

Hamilton looking quick in final practice ahead of qualifying at Silverstone

Hamilton led for much of the session and set the fastest time through the first sector - but an error on the entry into Brooklands on his final run meant he didn't improve on his time of 1'31.633". Hamilton's team mate Rosberg duly went faster by 0.146 seconds to setup a battle for pole between the Mercedes pair for qualifying.

Grosjean, Ricciardo, Alonso, Raikkonen, Sutil and Di Resta complete the top 10. Other British hopefuls faded away with Button down in 12th place, and Max Chilton in 21st, one place behind his team mate but with a gap of 1.7 seconds.

Qualifying starts at 1pm and live updates will be tweeted via @HuffPostUK.