Lewis Hamilton set the pace as he and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas traded fastest laps as the ‘black arrows’ dominated Saturday’s final practice at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
Championship leader Hamilton, who has a 30 points lead ahead of Bottas after four rounds of this year’s COVID-19 delayed championship, clocked a best lap in one minute and 26.621 seconds.
This left Bottas adrift by more than a tenth of a second with their nearest rival Lando Norris of McLaren more than half a second down in third place ahead of the two controversial ‘pink Mercedes’ of Racing Point.
Nico Hulkenberg, standing in for coronavirus victim Sergio Perez, was fourth ahead of Lance Stroll by a fraction of a hundredth of a second, the duo showing the pace that has stimulated complaints and appeals against their legality.
Racing Point on Saturday morning confirmed their intention to appeal the stewards’ verdict, announced on Friday, that their brake ducts were illegal, the docking of 15 points and a 400,000 euros fine. Four rival teams, Ferrari, McLaren, Renault – who initiated the appeals process last month – and Williams also gave notice of appeal, believing the sanctions to be too lenient.
Charles Leclerc was sixth for Ferrari ahead of the two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alex Albon, Esteban Ocon of Renault and Carlos Sainz in the second McLaren.
Six-time champion Hamilton is seeking to claim his record-increasing 92nd pole position in qualifying later Saturday.