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Hamilton edges Vettel as rain hits final British GP practice

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Lewis Hamilton gave Mercedes a clean sweep of Formula 1 practice for the British Grand Prix by leading the final session on Saturday morning ahead of qualifying, edging out championship rival Sebastian Vettel.

After finishing second behind teammate Valtteri Bottas in both sessions on Friday, Hamilton was able to bounce back and hit the front in FP3 before rain hit the final 20 minutes of the running.

Hamilton turned in a fastest lap time of 1:28.063 to finish just 0.032 seconds clear of Vettel at the front of the pack as Ferrari showed its hand following a quiet Friday.

Bottas was able to take third place in the second Mercedes, 0.074 seconds off Hamilton at the top, leaving things finely poised ahead of qualifying at Silverstone later in the day.

As Bottas has a grid penalty, the fight for pole is set to boil down to Hamilton and Vettel, acting as the latest chapter in their growing rivalry.

Kimi Raikkonen was able to make a step forward for Ferrari and finish six-tenths off the pace, taking P4 as Red Bull failed to get in a qualifying simulation.

Daniel Ricciardo could only take sixth ahead of teammate Max Verstappen in eighth, allowing Reanult’s Nico Hulkenberg to finish as the best of the rest behind the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers in P5.

Romain Grosjean was P7 for Haas, while Felipe Massa and Stoffel Vandoorne completed the top 10 behind Verstappen for Williams and McLaren respectively.

Drizzle in the final 20 minutes of the session meant that drivers were unable to make any gains or complete truly representative running late on, leaving the status quo at the top unchanged.

Qualifying for the British Grand Prix is live on CNBC and the NBC Sports app from 8am ET on Saturday.

Usain Bolt, Bill Clinton among headline guests for USGP at COTA

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The Circuit of The Americas paddock ahead of the United States Grand Prix may have been busy with teams and drivers preparing for lights out, but much of the attention lay with a number of headline guests including former presidents and Olympic champions.

As part of its plans to up the excitement levels ahead of Sunday’s grand prix and mirror other sporting events, F1’s new owner, Liberty Media, announced plans a couple of weeks ago to link up with iconic boxing announcer Michael Buffer and eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt for the pre-race festivities.

Ahead of today’s race in Austin, Buffer will introduce the drivers in a number of groups before offering the call for drivers to start their engines, similar to the pre-race procedure for the Indianapolis 500.

Honorary race starter Bolt, who competed in his last athletic world championship event in London earlier this year, will appear on the start line to complete his signature victory pose before waving the green flags to launch the formation lap.

Bolt was also treated to a hot lap around COTA by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton before the start of the formal pre-race build up program in Austin.

Liberty issued a list of celebrities and other public figures who are confirmed to be attending today’s race, including Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden and actor Owen Wilson among others.

One name that wasn’t on the list? 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, who quickly became a focus for the paddock upon arrival three hours before lights out.

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET today.