July 21, 2018 / 12:19 PM / 5 months ago

Rain washes out most of final German Grand Prix practice

Formula One F1 - German Grand Prix - Hockenheimring, Hockenheim, Germany - July 21, 2018 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in action during practice REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

HOCKENHEIM, Germany (Reuters) - Rain washed out most of Saturday’s final German Grand Prix practice session, with less than half the Formula One grid setting a lap time.

The conditions allowed some of the lesser teams to grab some attention, with Sauber’s Monegasque rookie Charles Leclerc top of the timesheets ahead of Swedish team mate Marcus Ericsson.

The time of one minute 34.577 seconds was more than 21 seconds slower than Max Verstappen’s Friday best for Red Bull in hot conditions.

Williams, with only four points from 10 races and struggling at the back of the field, had Russian Sergey Sirotkin third fastest, one place ahead of Ferrari’s championship leader Sebastian Vettel.

Mercedes’ world champion Lewis Hamilton, a favorite for pole position later and eight points behind Vettel in the standings, ventured out on track in the dying minutes but did not complete a timed lap and was classified last.

Mercedes had earlier dismissed a television report that Hamilton was feeling unwell and would not be taking part in practice.

Only nine of the 20 drivers did set a time.

The Meteo France weather forecast had predicted a 40 percent chance of rain for the session, with a 60 percent likelihood for qualifying.

That could shake things up for Sunday’s race when better weather is expected to return, although it will make little difference for Red Bull’s Australian Daniel Ricciardo who is set to start at the back due to power unit penalties.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge

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