Hamilton back on top in final practice as Hartley survives big crash

Lewis Hamilton hit back to go top again when he clocked the fastest lap for Mercedes in Saturday's crash-hit third and final practice session for the British Grand Prix.

The defending champion, who is one point behind fellow four-time champion Sebastian Vettel in the scrap for this year's drivers' title, recorded a best lap in one minute and 26.722 seconds, nearly four seconds faster than his pole lap in qualifying last year.

It was enough to lift him nearly a second clear of Vettel's Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen with Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes taking third and Vettel, who was quickest in Friday's second session, fourth after doing only eight laps due to a sore neck.

On a sweltering day in central England, the session was interrupted by a 12-minute red-flagged pause after Brendon Hartley walked away unhurt from a high-speed crash when the suspension on his Toro Rosso car failed.

The left front wheel of the New Zealander's car collapsed and he lost control and smashed into the barriers at the end of the Wellington Straight.

After a visit to the circuit medical centre, he was declared fit and well and was seen walking back in the paddock at the end of the session. The crowd gave him an ovation when he climbed from his wrecked car.

Max Verstappen, who crashed on Friday, was fifth ahead of his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, Charles Leclerc of Sauber, Kevin Magnussen and his Ferrari-powered Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean and Marcus Ericsson in the second Ferrari-powered Sauber.

"It's going to be very, very close this weekend," said Hamilton, sporting a gold-coloured helmet this weekend.

"The Ferraris are really fast. We're in for a serious fight, which is great for the fans. I hope we pull through."

Hamilton is bidding for a record sixth British win and his fifth in succession at Silverstone.

"The track is the fastest it has ever been," he added. "We're flat out through Copse and Turn One and through Turn Two with the DRS - it's insane how fast it is.

"The faster this track gets, the better it gets. It has to be the best track in the world - it feels like driving a fighter jet around the track."

Hartley's Toro Rosso teammate Pierre Gasly said: "I'm glad he is ok - now we need to find out what happened because, at the moment, the team doesn't really understand it."

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