LONDON (Dispatches) - Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ended the final practice before Formula 1’s new ‘sprint’ qualifying race fastest at the British Grand Prix.
Verstappen was 0.375 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. The second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz was third ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.
But the headline lap times were not relevant to performance in the session.
The teams were working on race pace - both for the 17-lap sprint, at 16:30 BST, and Sunday’s Grand Prix.
A crowd of about 100,000 is expected at Silverstone throughout Saturday, with clear blue skies and temperatures of around 26C adding to the sense of occasion.
Lewis Hamilton, eighth fastest in this session, starts the ‘sprint’ race from pole position, ahead of title rival Max Verstappen’s Red Bull.
Hamilton has said he “needs to win both races” this weekend in an attempt to close the 32-point championship lead Verstappen has built up with four wins in the past five races.
There are three championship points for the winner of the ‘sprint’, with second and third getting two and one respectively.