The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team were thankful to have two fully intact cars following the typical British weather at Silverstone for the first two practice sessions of the weekend.
Team Prinicipal Martin Whitmarsh said the team had gathered some valuable information ahead of the weekend as the weather looks to remain in place. “It was extremely slippery out there today; nonetheless, despite our having to limit our running in order to conserve enough wet-weather tyres for the rest of the weekend, both our drivers did an excellent job in the appalling conditions, getting through some useful wet-weather development work without mishap.
Lewis Hamilton topped the times in the first session of the day and came home third in the second session, aside from the data collected in the wet weather running the British driver admitted he enjoyed his time on the wet circuit. “I had some fun out there today!” he said.
“I got to do a good few laps too, which was good, because I was concerned that the fans wouldn't get to see much action. There were so many of them out there today. I can't remember seeing so many people at a racetrack on a Friday before – it was incredible. British Formula 1 fans are the best in the world!
Hamilton also revealed the frustration of not being able to get in any more running due to tyre constraints. “I would like to have gone out and done even more laps – but we simply didn't have enough tyres to do that. Perhaps that's something we can look at for the future.”
Fellow-Brit Jenson Button echoed Hamilton’s thoughts about the fans. “We learned a few things today – but mainly that it's often wet at Silverstone and the fans always come out in force even when it's chucking it down! Seriously, though, I'm glad we were finally able to do some running as it hasn't been the nicest of days for them.”
Button said that despite the bad conditions the sessions proved valuable for the team. “I think we learned throughout the day where the biggest rivers on the circuit were situated – one of the biggest is along the Hangar Straight just before Stowe. You're travelling at 290km/h [180mph] and you hit a river that gives you wheelspin – at that speed – and when that happens your car can snap out of control very easily.
“When you're driving alone, it's not so bad, because you can pick your way around and lift off whenever necessary, but in the race you can't do that. So, pretty obviously, I hope there won't be as much standing water around on Sunday.”
“Moreover, with wet weather forecast for much of tomorrow and Sunday, today's successful research represents an important baseline from which we can focus our developmental strategy with a view to competing for ultimate honours in the 2012 Santander British Grand Prix.”