Lewis fastest at wet Silverstone
BEATING THE CLOCK - AND THE RAIN: McLaren's Lewis Hamilton ploughs through the downpour on the way to fastest driver in second practiice for the 2012 UK F1 GP. Image: AFP
Author: ALAN BALDWIN
Silverstone, England - Rain and traffic chaos put a dampener on practice for the 2012 British F1 GP on Friday with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton doing his best to raise the spirits of drenched home fans with the fastest lap of the day.
With fans braving the elements and huddling under umbrellas around the circuit, 2008 World champion Hamilton set the pace with a largely meaningless time of 1min56.345 in the second session after lunch.
Frenchman Romain Grosjean had been fastest for Lotus in the morning session in 1min56.552.
BRIT FANS BRAVE DELUGE
Waterlogged camp sites led to monster tailbacks outside the circuit as organisers struggled to get vehicles parked on firm ground with 80 000 spectators expected on one of the wettest days of the British summer.
Many ticket-holders were reported to be still locked in jams outside, with little hope of seeing any of the day's action, even as the second session started.
Despite the delays and frustration, there was no denying the enthusiasm of those who made it in. The spectator stands looked fuller than on race day at some sunnier circuits, even if drivers rewarded them with only tentative laps on 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 after the first session.
ALONSO IN BARRIER
Staying on the asphalt was tricky, with the afternoon practice halted for 10 minutes when Brazilian Bruno Senna veered off into the barriers after his Williams hit standing water. Senna, who has yet to race at Silverstone in F1, was unhurt but the car looked heavily damaged.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, championship leader, also hit the barrier after a similar off-track excursion late in the session.
Toro Rosso's Australian Daniel Ricciardo was second on the morning timing screens ahead of Hamilton.
Hamilton, whose 2008 victory makes him the most recent British driver to win his home race, completed only six laps in the first 90-minute session and eight in the afternoon.
"The conditions are pretty dodgy, to say the least," said Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber, who did seven laps in the morning and was sixth fastest. He didn’t set a timed lap in the afternoon.
"We don't want to do a thousand laps today because the forecast looks pretty dodgy for the weekend and we need these tyres," he said.
Stay with Wheels24 for the Formula 1 weekend.
2012 British F1 GP second free practice times at Silverstone on Friday
1 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1min56.345
2 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber 1min56.474
3 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 1min56.545
4 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min56.567
5 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber 1min57.493
6 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min57.948
7 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham 1min58.580
8 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 1min58.897
9 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India 1min58.943
10 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1min59.015
11 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 1min59.429
12 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 1min59.472
13 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1min59.476
14 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 1min59.854
15 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 2min00.565
16 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia 2min00.820
17 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams 2min01.099
18 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham 2min01.348
19 Charles Pic (France) Marussia -2min03.719
20 Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT -2min04.774
No times set
21 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus
22 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso
23 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull
24 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT