Hamilton rates home chances but the rain leaves Button in dark

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The Independent Online

So, can Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Button deliver the goods for the faithful but sodden fans who will turn out in their droves this weekend to cheer them on to a home victory in the British Grand Prix?

The honest answer is that neither of the McLaren drivers really knows after the changeable weather completely disrupted the first two practice sessions at Silverstone yesterday. Their frustration echoed that of all the drivers up and down the pit lane, because, despite the dismal forecasts, they had come here hoping for some dry road running so they could discover whether their places in the pecking order really had changed because of the new technical rules.

"It's a shame today was so wet, because I really wanted to put on a good show for all the fans," Hamilton said after setting the eighth and fourth fastest times. "They had to brave some pretty cold and damp conditions all day, so I'm pleased that it looks like the weather will improve for the rest of the weekend. Fingers crossed.

"Despite the lack of running, today was quite encouraging; we tested a couple of things and I managed to pick up quite a decent feeling for the car."

He might have been able to go faster in the second session, but encountered a slower car. "It's going to be interesting tomorrow if it's dry," he continued, "because I think our car is looking quite good. The new rear wing also felt quite positive, but we've still got to decide whether we carry it over into tomorrow and the race itself."

Button (below) admitted that he ended the day feeling extremely frustrated, mainly because so many questions went unanswered because of the conditions. "We thought we'd get some good running under our belts this afternoon, but the rain meant that didn't happen, and we didn't really get a chance to evaluate everything," he said. "The balance was OK in P1. Hopefully, it's not going to rain for the rest of the weekend, so we should be able to get a better read on how the new interpretations of the regulations will affect us. We don't really know if our new rear wing is an improvement. I'm still not sure what we're going to run for the rest of the weekend."

Button took one positive vibe from the day. "The new facilities here are great – the only problem is that, at our end of the pitlane, we can't see the fans and they can't see us! Still, it's a fantastic effort from everybody involved."

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