Nico Rosberg set the fastest time in Free Practice for the British Grand Prix on a gloomy day at Silverstone, with Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel completing the top three.
After a rain-disrupted FP1, the afternoon session saw a break in the poor conditions and the field were able to complete some important dry laps ahead of what is predicted to be a dry weekend.
With this in mind, today’s rain prohibits us from gaining too much information about the expected pacesetters as temperatures are expected to increase for qualifying and the race itself.
However, the dry running will give the teams some useful knowledge as the rain eased sufficiently to complete single-lap runs and a heavy fuel run to complete the afternoon.
Rosberg showed that Mercedes has lost little in terms of one lap pace in the three weeks since Canada by lapping 3/10ths faster than the lead Red Bull of Webber. The Australian – in his final British GP – headed his team mate by a further tenth of a second and adds to the expectations for this weekend for his Milton Keynes squad.
The Red Bull race pace also looks strong with Vettel completing a lengthy run on the hard tyre with quick and consistent lap times.
Of the British contingent it was Paul Di Resta who outshone his three compatriots to end the day in fourth place and continue Force India’s impressive pace. The Scot fell at the earliest stage of qualifying at the previous Grand Prix and was able to make a single set of Pirelli’s medium compound tyre last deep in to the race.
Lewis Hamilton made it two Brits in the top five in the Mercedes, ending the day 6/10ths of a second down on Rosberg. He completed a hard tyre run in similar length to Vettel but saw him times fall away more dramatically.
The Toro Rosso pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne filled the next two positions as they battle to impress the Red Bull hierarchy following the announcement of Webber’s F1 retirement.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner indicated today that the team will choose from the Toro Rosso pair and Kimi Raikkonen.
2011 race winner Fernando Alonso had a low key session, ending the day in tenth place and over a second off of Rosberg’s pace. His team mate, Felipe Massa, crashed for the fourth time in three races as he lost control of his Ferrari on the exit of Stowe corner; damaging both the front-left suspension and his decreasing confidence.
BRITISH GRAND PRIX, Silverstone, Practice
1.Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:32.248
2.Mark Webber Red Bull 1:32.547 +0.299
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:32.680 +0.432
4. Paul Di Resta Force India 1:32.832 +0.584
5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:32.911 +0.663
6. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:33.171 +0.923
7. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:33.290 +1.042
8. Adrian Sutil Force India 1:33.313 +1.065
9. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:33.322 +1.074
10. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:33.494 +1.246
11. Jenson Button McLaren 1:33.740 +1.492
12. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1:33.896 +1.684
13. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1:34.120 +1.872
14. Sergio Perez Mclaren 1:34.130 +1.882
15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:34.998 +2.750
16. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:35.070 +2.822
17. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:35.127 +2.879
18. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:35.801 +3.554
19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1:35.985 +3.736
20. Charles Pic Caterham 1:36.079 +3.831
21. Max Chilton Marussia 1:37.329 +5.082
22. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:43.466 +11.218