Grand Prix: Red Bull duo lead in final practice


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Silverstone, July 10

Sebastian Vettel led an ominous Red Bull one-two in final free practice for the British Formula One Grand Prix today while rivals McLaren struggled to get up to speed. Vettel, winner at Silverstone in a Red Bull one-two last season, lapped the longer reconfigured circuit in one minute, 30.958 seconds.

Australian Mark Webber, showing no after-effects of the huge 300kph crash he suffered in Valencia two weeks ago, was just 0.034 slower with Ferrari’s double world champion Fernando Alonso the third fastest. While Sunday’s race is a local one for Red Bull, whose factory is at nearby Milton Keynes, the spotlight has been mainly on Britain’s two world champions Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.

Both found McLaren’s new ‘blown diffuser’ exhaust system an unexpected handful on Friday and the team reverted to the old setup for final practice and the all-important qualifying later today. Championship leader Hamilton, who is six points ahead of his team mate, was seventh quickest while reigning champion Button cannot have been happy with 12th. Button has never stood on his home podium in a decade in the sport but is hoping to end that long wait in front of a near-capacity crowd.

A record-equalling 85,000 turned up on Friday and the grandstands were again full of fans wearing McLaren’s ‘rocket red’ caps and shirts.

They may be disappointed on Sunday, with Red Bull threatening a third one-two of the season.— Reuters