Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hamilton Can Still Home in on Pole; British Star Won't Be Fazed by Silverstone Slip

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hamilton Can Still Home in on Pole; British Star Won't Be Fazed by Silverstone Slip

Article excerpt

HOME favourite Lewis Hamilton was beaten to top spot by his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in both practice sessions for the British Grand Prix.

Hamilton, the 32-year-old Briton who is bidding for a record-equalling fifth victory on home soil, has seen his preparations this week overshadowed by his no-show at a Formula One promotional event in London on Wednesday night.

And it was Finn Bottas, the 27-year-old fresh from his second victory of the campaign in Austria last Sunday, who led the way yesterday at an overcast Silverstone. Hamilton, however, failed to post his best time in the afternoon session on the supersoft tyre - the quickest of the Pirelli compounds available this weekend - after he ran off the track through the super-quick Becketts section. He was still just 0.047 seconds slower than Bottas.

It will provide the triple world champion with enough confidence that he can get the better of his inform team-mate in what could prove to be a pivotal qualifying session today.

Hamilton won from pole here in 2015, and again last year, and how the Englishman could do with another dominant victory as he bids to trim the 20-point margin to rival Sebastian Vettel at the summit of the championship.

Vettel, who has been so consistent this season, was only fourth here, four-tenths of a second slower than the Mercedes pair.

His Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, who spun off the circuit during the second session, was also faster after he ended the day third in the order.

Earlier, Vettel became the first driver to trial the so-called 'shield' - the FIA's third different concept aimed at improving cockpit protection.

The device, made of transparent polycarbonate, is designed to sit in front of the driver and deflect any flying debris. Vettel completed only three laps with the safety concept, which is now the governing body's preferred option over the 'canopy' and the 'halo'. …

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