NICO ON CHARGE: Mercedes' Nico Rosberg is determined to overtake team mate Lewis Hamilton as championship leader in the 2015 season. Image: AP / Andy Wong
SILVERSTONE, England - The home crowd was cheering for Lewis Hamilton but Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg was on top of the time sheets in both free-practice sessions for the British GP on Friday (July 3).
The German was a only 0.070sec faster than the two-times Formula 1 champion Hamilton in a troubled morning session but comfortably quicker in the afternoon when Hamilton was fourth and behind the Ferraris.
CATCHING UP FAST
Rosberg, 10 points behind Hamilton after eight of the season's 19 races, lapped with a best time of 1min34.274 on a bright and hot morning at Silverstone and 1min34.155 in the afternoon.
Winner of three of the last four races, Rosberg had sat out much of the first session as mechanics changed his car's gearbox due to a hydraulic fault that stopped him on track with just five laps done.
Mercedes was reprimanded for covering up the car, against the rules, when it was returned to the paddock.
He had time for only 12 laps once the car had been fixed, compared to Hamilton's 26, but made up for lost time by getting quickly up to speed.
Hamilton, who can expect to have huge support from an expected 140 000-strong crowd on Sunday, had an early spin at Stowe without consequence but struggled with the setup after lunch.
Hamilton said over the team radio: "The car is all over the place. I can't go any faster than I am right now." Rosberg was, meanwhile, told to cool the car.
BETTER DAYS FOR SOME
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who crashed heavily in the previous race in Austria, was fourth and second while team mate Sebastian Vettel celebrated his 28th birthday with sixth and third respectively.
Germany's Nico Hulkenberg, with the updated Force India getting its first proper run, was ninth and eighth fastest behind the improving Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat, who were sixth and fifth in the second session.
Honda-powered McLaren's miserable run of form continued with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button faster only than the Manor Marussias in the morning.
At one point in the afternoon, asked if he wanted to do another lap, Button replied: "No. The stability is terrible... the car's bouncing all over the place."
Three cars went off in the afternoon, including Alonso, with Lotus's Romain Grosjean and Manor's Roberto Merhi briefly bringing out red flags when they bogged in the gravel.
Development driver Susie Wolff made her sole appearance of the weekend for Williams in the morning and was 13th fastest.
Read: As it happened - 2015 British GP 2nd practice
2015 British GP 2nd Practice
1 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min34.155
2 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1min34.502
3 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 1min34.552
4 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1min34.621
5 Daniil Kvyat (Russia) RedBull - Renault 1min35.009
6 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) RedBull - Renault 1min35.153
7 Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Toro Rosso - Renault 1min35.300
8 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India - Mercedes 1min35.387
9 Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso - Renault 1min35.866
10 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 1min36.147
11 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus - Mercedes 1min36.164
12 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams - Mercedes 1min36.183
13 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India - Mercedes 1min36.351
14 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - Mercedes 1min36.728
15 Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 1min36.731
16 Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber - Ferrari 1min36.822
17 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min37.196
18 Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber - Ferrari 1min37.327
19 Will Stevens (Britain) Marussia - Ferrari 1min38.279
20 Roberto Merhi (Spain) Marussia - Ferrari 1min39.878