Grosjean tops rain-hit Silverstone
TAKING ON SILVERSTONE: Romain Grosjean has performed superbly in the 2012 season. Above shows the Lotus driver setting the quickest time during the first practice session.
Silverstone, England - Steady rain put a dampener on practice for the 2012 British F1 GP on Friday with Romain Grosjean lapping fastest for Lotus in clouds of spray as fans huddled in the stands and under umbrellas.
Camp sites were waterlogged and car park full of puddles with traffic jams tailing back for miles on approach roads as organisers put contingency plans into effect to limit the effects of the weather.
'BIT OF SWIMMING...'
Despite the delays and frustration, with many spectators unable to access the circuit in time for the opening session, there was no denying the enthusiasm of those who made it in. They thronged the circuit in their tens of thousands, the stands looking fuller than on race day at some sunnier circuits, while drivers took tentatively to the glistening track.
"Bit of swimming today only 6 laps in FP1! UK weather is just unreal," declared Marussia's German driver Timo Glock on Twitter.
Grosjean's best lap of 1min56.552 was largely meaningless in a session that made staying on the asphalt a challenge. Moments after he had completed that lap, the Frenchman found himself tracking across the grass at Becketts.
Toro Rosso's Australian Daniel Ricciardo was second on the timing screens, 0.275sec slower, while McLaren's Lewis Hamilton was third. Hamilton, whose 2008 victory makes him the most recent British driver to win his home race, completed only six laps in the 90-minute session.
FOUR LAPS, NO TIME
That was more than Ferrari's championship leader Fernando Alonso who did four installation laps without setting a time.
Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber, who did seven laps and was sixth fastest, said: "The conditions are pretty dodgy to say the least. We don't want to do a thousand laps today because the forecast looks pretty dodgy for the weekend and we need these tyres."
A second practice session was scheduled for later the
same day, qualifying is on Saturday July 7 and the 52-lap race on Sunday
July 8 from 2pm SA time.
Result from the first free practice session ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone:
1 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min56.552
2 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso 1min56.827
3 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1min57.174
4 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber 1min57.664
5 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1min58.119
6 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 1min58.463
7 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber 1min58.483
8 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 1min58.493
9 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min58.942
10 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 1min59.076
11 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1min59.414
12 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham 1min59.614
13 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 1min59.733
14 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham 1min59.787
15 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 2min00.125
16 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 2min00.253
17 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 2min01.834
18 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia 2min01.835
19 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT 2min04.341
20 Dani Clos (Spain) HRT 2min05.022
21 Charles Pic (France) Marussia 2min11.760
22 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari
23 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India
24 Jules Bianchi (France) Force India