British GP - Friday - Practice Session 2 Report
Hamilton quickest in treacherous conditions
Lewis Hamilton (1:56.345) set the pace in the second session of free practice at Silverstone but the only real winner was the weather after more than half an hour elapsed before there was any meaningful running.
The roads around Silverstone were blocked as huge crowds descended on the track and packed grandstands patiently waited for some on-track action. The problem was that with just three set of extreme wet tyres avaliable for the weekend, teams were reluctant to use them or to risk damage to the cars.
Another set of intermediate tyres were available to teams to encourage running (they had to be given back at the end of the day) but the reality was that track conditions were too bad to use them for much of the session. What was needed was another set of extreme wets that the teams were not permitted to stockpile .
After half an hour the packed grandstands had witnessed only Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Bruno Senna and Timo Glock, with 11 laps between them.
Alonso tried intermediates with 40 minutes to go but then Senna caused the session to be red-flagged with half an hour left when he lost the rear end of the Williams and sustained quite a heavy impact. Senna himself was fine but his FW34 looked somewhat worse for wear.
Kamui Kobayashi's Sauber (1:56.474) finished the session just 0.13s slower than Hamilton, ahead of the closesly-matched Mercedes twins, Michael Schumacher (1:56.545) and Nico Rosberg (1:56.567).
Sergio Perez (1:57.493) was fifth quickest, ahead of Jenson Button's McLaren (1:57.948), Heikki Kovalainen's Caterham (1:58.580), Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus (1:58.897), Nico Hulkenberg's Force India (1:58.943) and Fernando Alonso's Ferrari (1:59.015).
The conditions made it virtually impossible for the teams to evaluate any of the upgrades brought to Silverstone. Alonso ventured out in the closing stages of the session on intermediate tyres with a new front wing, but came back without it after a spin. Perez, meanwhile, had a 360 degree spin on the extreme wets, proving that coping with the conditions was a challenge whatever the rubber.
Although it would be interesting to be able to evaluate the current performance levels on a dry circuit, the forecast for the weekend makes such an eventuality unlikely.