Vettel On Top As The Rain Hits Silverstone

Sebastian Vettel took Red Bull to the top of the practice timesheets for the first time all season after leading teammate Daniel Ricciardo at Silverstone. The reigning world champion made best use of a damp race track to go fastest while Mercedes kept their powder dry, saving their intermediate and wet tyres for qualifying.

Persistent rain presented a problem for the teams with conditions right on the crossover point between intermediates and wets and the majority of the fast times were set on the intermediate rubber. The early part of the session saw top spot switch between the two Toro Rosso drivers but the sister team were soon put in their place by Vettel who clocked a 1:52.631 to give Red Bull the edge.

Sebastian’s benchmark time came with 25 minutes still remaining but with the rain continuing, and teams mindful of the need for wet tyres in a probable wet qualifying session, no-one challenged it for the rest of the morning. As a result, Daniel Ricciardo took second with the Lotus pair of Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean third and fourth, the latter escaping a spin at Club which took him perilously close to the pitwall.

Fifth placed Adrian Sutil was one of the few drivers to find time late in the session, although that didn’t come without an excursion at Stowe. Lewis Hamilton also veered from the racing line on his exploratory lap but Jules Bianchi made the biggest mistake of all, ploughing straight through the gravel and into the tyre barrier. The accident compounded an already miserable morning for Marussia who had already changed Max Chilton’s gearbox, incurring a five place grid penalty.

Behind Sutil, Daniil Kvyat was sixth with the McLarens of Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button finishing seventh and eighth after a handful of laps apiece. Valtteri Bottas was the leading Williams in ninth while Kimi Raikkonen was the sole Ferrari driver to set a time, breaking into the top ten.