Bottas penalty boosts Hamilton's pursuit of record Silverstone win

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Former world champion and crowd favourite Lewis Hamilton will fly the flag for Great Britain in this weekend's British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

"I would think he's got (Mercedes team boss) Toto (Wolff) in his ear trying to say extend for a year and then he's probably got Ferrari saying it's three years or nothing", added the Briton.

Fernando Alonso has the largest grid penalty of all after a new power unit was fitted to his vehicle this morning adding an extra 25-place grid penalty on top of the five-place penalty he had following a battery change on Friday.

Meanwhile, Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas, who won the first two practice races, finished third ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Renault's Nico Hulkenberg.

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Lewis Hamilton was in no mood to entertain what he described as "the dumbest question" in a pre-British Grand Prix media conference, but thankfully a jovial Daniel Ricciardo stepped in to prevent an awkward exchange. The polycarbonate shield, placed on Vettel's Ferrari for the first time, is created to protect against flying debris while offering an unrestricted view.

This is the most intense battle I've had through my whole racing career, the Mercedes driver told Martin Brundle and Simon Lazenby during the F1 Show.

The foundation for Bottas's victory charge came at the start when he pulled away so quickly that race control investigated for a possible jump-start. Vettel had trailed Bottas by eight seconds prior to his stop and was able to put the hammer down while Mercedes kept the Finn out.

Vettel, who heads Hamilton by 20 points in the championship ahead of this weekend's British Grand Prix, is in the final campaign of his three-year deal with Ferrari.

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But Hamilton was the lone absentee of this year's crop of 20 drivers after he chose to go on holiday rather than appear in front of thousands of British fans.

Max Verstappen finished fifth for Red Bull, just 0.15s behind the nearest Ferrari.

Bottas set the pace in FP1 with a time of one minute and 29.106 seconds, but it took Hamilton just 15 minutes into FP2 to top that benchmark on soft tyres.

"The vision is not very good [with the shield cockpit protection] and I think it's because of the curvature that creates a bit of distortion". "It is certainly our plan as long as we are running Formula One to have a race in the United Kingdom".

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Vettel started the day by trying out the new "shield", the first driver to experience the transparent open canopy system created to protect the head from flying debris. It is now the FIA's preferred option over the "canopy" and the "halo".

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