British Grand Prix LIVE: Hamilton starts ahead of Vettel and Bottas
Lewis Hamilton starts on pole for the British Grand Prix – the fourth time in five years he has topped qualifying at Silverstone.
The Mercedes driver is 20 points behind Sebastian Vettel in the Drivers’ Championship and will have TWO Ferraris breathing down his exhaust pipe when the lights go out.
Kimi Raikkonen starts second on the grid, with Vettel third.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who won the Austrian Grand Prix last week, is ninth after suffering a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.
Follow all the British Grand Prix action LIVE with Express Sport below…
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British Grand Prix LIVE updates
LAP 47: Vettel is losing speed here. He needs that chequered flag to come quick as Verstappen gains ground on the limping Ferrari.
There are four laps left and Raikkonen will believe he can keep Bottas at bay.
LAP 44: BOTTAS TAKES VETTEL! Two laps later and the Mercedes car saunters past his rival on the straight. That was a lot easier than his previous attempt.
Bottas now looks looks towards Raikkonen in second. He has seven laps to do the business.
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LAP 42: Bottas goes for Vettel with an aggressive sweep around a corner but the Ferrari defends his place.
Bottas edges off the track and touches tyres when he returns.
Bottas has the tyres to challenge Vettel for the rest of this race. Can the German fend him off?
Bottas tracks down Vettel (right)
LAP 34: This is turning into a little bit of a procession at the front. Bottas has the measure of Vettel in terms of lap times, and with Raikkonen between them it looks unlikely that the German will get into second today.
But Bottas finally pits, coming out behind Vettel. So, this could be interesting. It’s likely going to be a battle for third here, with Hamilton running his own race and Raikkonen enjoying second place.
Can Bottas capture German Vettel? He has 17 laps to do it.
Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso looks like he’s set for another point-less drive. The McLaren is stuck in 14th and tootling away like a ramble in the English countryside.
Oh hang on, Alonso can’t even manage that! His engine packs up and he’s out of the race. What a waste of a season this has been for Alonso.
LAP 26: Hamilton come into the pit and is out in a flash. Have Mercedes timed this right? Bottas and Raikkonen are gunning for the front.
Of course he does! Hamilton come out in the lead and has 25 more laps to win the British Grand Prix.
He has Bottas behind him, with Raikkonen and Vettel third and fourth.
So, does Vettel risk challenging his Ferrari team-mate for third? The German needs the points.
A quick update on Martin Brundle.
The veteran Sky Sports presenter was taken ill before his traditional grid walk at Silverstone.
Sky host Simon Lazenby said: "We can assure you he is in good hands and we wish him well.
"I hope you're in good hands mate and you get well soon, Martin.
"In his place at short notice, Paul Di Resta is with David Croft."
LAP 21: We’re pitting! Vettel and Verstappen both go in for super softs. And Vettel comes out ahead of the Red Bull in fifth. He’s tactually got past Verstappen there.
Vettel then matches Hamilton’s best lap when he comes back out.
Bottas is up into third but will still have to pitt. Hamilton remains ahead of Raikkonen (both on the super softs), while Ricciardo is now up to 10th.
Sebastian Vettel dives into the pitts
LAP 14: Hamilton is almost three seconds ahead of Raikkonen already. He is in full control here and only has tarmac to eat up ahead of him.
BOOM! Vettel targets Verstappen and goes for it on Turn 9. Verstappen almost goes off the track but keeps his nerve to take an inside lane on a corner and defend his place.
That was the German’s first move on the Red Bull. Verstappen was aggressive there but Vettel knows all about hard defending. That was gritty racing.
LAP 9: Bottas has moved up to fifth and is chasing down Vettel. And the Ferrari has a problem. He cannot get past Verstappen and the gap between the Red Bull and second-place Raikkonen is widening. Hamilton will be loving that.
Kvyat has a drive-through penalty so he is very much last now.
Williams’ chief technical officer Paddy Lowe says they are not expecting rain and the tyre strategy will reflect that.
LAP 4: The safety car is still out as drivers take the opportunity to get into the pits. Hamilton has Raikkonen, Verstappen and Vettel right behind him. They’re crawling round the track here.
Daniel Ricciardo started this race dead last. He’s moved up seven places but chances are he’s not claiming a sixth straight podium here. He’s having turbo problems and that may need to be seen to.
LIGHTS OUT: Oh dear. Jolyon Palmer on his home Grand Prix has been told to turn the car off. He doesn’t even get around one warm-up lap.
Meanwhile, Hamilton gets away clear, with Raikkonen and Vettel behind him. But Verstappen sneaks ahead of Vettel in third!
Bottas gets into seventh – that’s a good start.
Carlos Sainz is out after catching another tail-ender. The safety car is out.
Carlos Sainz crashed out on Lap 1
13:00: The drivers go out on their warm-up lap, parading in front of a packed Silverstone here today.
It’s fair to say this is a home race for Hamilton, who leads the procession.
Meanwhile, the forecasters have warned showed could sprinkle down on Silverstone later in the race.
12:53: Jenson Button is not one of the Brits backing Lewis Hamilton today.
The former world champion says he’d prefer a good race over a Mercedes win.
“Hopefully the Ferraris will be a challenge for Lewis,” he told Sky Sports.
“It will be an exciting race.”
Lewis Hamilton was in good spirits waving to the crowd this morning
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) July 16, 2017
12:50: The British national anthem is belted out around Silverstone, Lewis Hamilton seems to be mumbling the words. I bet the drivers love this parade 10 minutes before getting in the car. Nothing like losing focus.
Anyway, the skies remain cloudy her but the track is dry. Hamilton will be hoping for a swift start off the grid.
The drivers now head towards their cars…
12:25: It looks like we might just avoid rain today at Silverstone, but the clouds are overhead.
Forecasts of rain may not come to pass, although the teams will no doubt be monitoring the weather patterns this afternoon.
It’s certainly not a blistering day, with a high of 21c predicted.
That should lead to a nice, clean race. Right?
The Met Office is forecasting a grey day over Silverstone
12:12: Here’s what Lewis Hamilton had to say after topping qualifying on Saturday.
“I grew up watching TV and I remember seeing Nigel Mansell with the support and thinking, ‘Wow, I wonder what that feels like having all that focus and attention and support pointing into me’.
“I’ve been really privileged over the past 10 years to come here and receive that love. It really is so energising. Nigel mentioned it years ago. He said it gives you a second, maybe it’s half a second, but it definitely feels like it gives you something.
“You carry that energy and I think that applies to life in general. If you are feeling positive on a day, your day just goes a lot better.”
12:00: Let’s take a look at this iconic Silverstone track then.
The 3.6mile circuit is one of the most recognisable in F1. Like the Grand National, its corners have become famous over the years, with Stowe, Becketts and Copse household names in motorsport and beyond.
Turn 1 will of course be a major battle ground on the first lap, with Hamilton desperate to keep the two Ferrari’s well behind him.
Hamilton is susceptible to the odd poor start off the grid and any lost time will be gobbled up by Raikkonen and Vettel.
It’s probably safe to say that by the time the pack weave down to Brooklands on Turn 6, the yellow flag will be out. This is a short initial sprint off the line so the cars will bunch up and contact is likely.
Lewis Hamilton celebrates his pole position yesterday
11:30: Toto Wolff has dismissed Christian Horner’s claims that Mercedes are interested in signing Sebastian Vettel to their team as nothing but tittle tattle.
Christian has been planting a little bit of mischief everywhere between McLaren and Mercedes, between Ferrari and Mercedes,” Wolff said.
“We are having a driver strategy that's very clear: we love our two drivers, Lewis and Valtteri.
“That functions really well and if it was down to me alone I would like to continue with this for many more years. This is clearly our main priority.”
11:00: Lewis Hamilton was excellent in qualifying, smashing his final lap to keep well ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.
The three-time world champion won’t have the support of team-mate Valtteri Bottas, however, from the start.
Hamilton has history on his side when it comes to Silverstone. He has won this race in each of the past three seasons.
The home crowd will be right behind their man for today’s race, which starts at 1pm BST.