Verstappen tops practice ahead of F1 Sprint duel vs Hamilton

Max Verstappen fastest from Ferraris with Lewis Hamilton eighth, as drivers and teams concentrate on British GP grid-setting race later today; watch the first-ever F1 Sprint live on Sky Sports F1 at 4.30pm, with build-up from 3.40pm

Last Updated: 17/07/21 1:16pm

Max Verstappen topped the timesheets in the British GP’s final practice before the inaugural F1 Sprint later on Saturday, as the championship leader geared up for a unique battle against rival Lewis Hamilton.

In a session where most drivers were preparing for the much-anticipated 17-lap race – live on Sky Sports F1 at 4.30pm – rather than focusing on outright speed, Verstappen completed less mileage than his rivals but also clocked the fastest time, ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

Hamilton, who will head the field ahead of Verstappen in the F1 Sprint, was clearly on a different strategy to the 32-point championship leader and finished with a fastest time over a second off the fairly modest 1:29.902.

The Silverstone home hero finished down in eighth, but will hope to deliver another sparkling performance in the debut full-throttle race that will set the grid for Sunday’s showpiece British GP.

Build-up for F1 Sprint is at 3.40pm ahead of lights out at 4.30pm.

Behind Verstappen and the Ferraris, Esteban Ocon showed Alpine’s race pace in fourth after their double Q2 exit in qualifying yesterday, while Sergio Perez was fifth – the position he will start the F1 Sprint in.

McLaren’s Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo were just ahead of the Mercedes of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, who spun right at the end of the session.

More to follow.