After wet weather plagued the event last year rain greeted the F1 teams as practice began for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Many teams used the time to assess wet, wet/dry and dry running though the frequent spells of rain saw many electing to limit their running in FP1 and wait till FP2.
Fastest in the first session was Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo who took the opportunity to practice in the tricky conditions setting a 1:54.249 during his ten laps on track. His team mate Jean-Eric Vergne gained a pair of sevenths as he set a time almost three seconds slower than his team mate in FP1 before setting a 1:33.290 in FP2.
Felipe Massa in the Ferrari was more than six seconds adrift of the 11 racers who set a time and again came last in FP2 as the result of a crash at Stowe on only the seventh lap of his run.
Mark Webber – in his first weekend after announcing his switch to the WEC with Porsche came out the best of the Red Bulls as he came second in FP2 just behind Nico Rosberg and ahead of team mate Sebastian Vettel on a track that seems to favour the Australian.
“We tried to do as much as we could in 90 minutes; we put both compounds on and did different fuel loads as well, so it was quite a demanding session for the team. In the end we got what we could out of it. I think that both Seb and I ran different compounds and got the information we need for the race.” Stated Webber.
Mercedes, looking to put the recent tyre testing dispute behind them, put in a strong showing with, as already mentioned, Rosberg finishing first in FP2 with Lewis Hamilton fourth in FP1 and P5 in FP2. The German didn’t run in the morning.
Toto Wolff said: “After it rained through first practice, it was good to do plenty of laps this afternoon and we had a decent session. We can’t read too much into the results but we ran slightly different programmes with the drivers to learn as much as possible. Now we need to analyse that data and draw the right conclusions for the rest of the weekend, when we expect quite different conditions to today.”
One driver of note was Giedo van der Garde who made the most of a quiet track and the wet conditions to push his Caterham into 8th place in what must be a season high for the Dutchman, however the car reverted to form in the dry conditions finishing 19th.
He said: “The morning session was obviously affected by the rain which is a shame, both for the fans who packed out the stands, and for us with the plan we’d set for FP1. We wanted to run through a few aero evaluations, particularly as we have a couple of new updates to the floor here, but with the track as wet as it was, and no sign of the rain stopping, we played it safe in the morning.”
Free Practice 3 takes place tomorrow at 10 with qualifying taking place at 1pm.