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Hamilton top in crash-marred final practice for British GP

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in action during the third practice session for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 9, 2016/PHOTO/AFP

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in action during the third practice session for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 9, 2016/PHOTO/AFP

SILVERSTONE, United Kingdom, July 9- Lewis Hamilton completed a clean sweep by topping the times ahead of Mercedes team-mate and rival Nico Rosberg in Saturday’s crash-interrupted final practice for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

The session, which began gingerly with the drivers making cautious progress in the temperamental conditions, was stopped for 18 minutes in the final period when Swede Marcus Ericsson crashed heavily in his Sauber car.

He walked away without appearing to suffer serious injury but Sauber later said he had been sent to hospital for a routine check-up after what it described as “a massive crash.”

The reigning champion Hamilton, who was fastest in both Friday sessions, clocked a best lap time of one minute and 30.904 seconds to outpace the championship-leading Rosberg by 0.063 seconds on a cool, damp and overcast day at the former wartime airfield in central England.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo was half a second adrift in third place ahead of his Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen, four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari and Valtteri Bottas of Williams.

Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso continued to demonstrate the improvement of the McLaren team by taking seventh place ahead of Nico Hulkenberg of Force India, Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari and Spaniard Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso.

Rosberg showed no signs of being disadvantaged by missing the entire second practice on Friday and lapped consistently throughout the time available, while the Briton Hamilton was more selective in his timing of laps in the changing conditions.

The two drivers, told by Mercedes on Thursday that they face sanctions including fines and suspensions if they disobey revised “rules of engagement”, worked with restraint and there was no visible fresh flashpoint in their strained relationship.

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