British Grand Prix: Nico Rosberg emerges from spray as Mercedes underline Silverstone potential

Heavy rain meant cars and drivers stayed in garages till final 10 practice minutes

Nico Rosberg took advantage of a dry afternoon practice session to seemingly leave Mercedes as the team to beat in qualifying ahead of the British Grand Prix.

Mercedes claimed four pole positions in a row up until the last race in Canada earlier this month when it should have been five but for a mistake by Lewis Hamilton in the dying moments of his final hot lap.

On a fast, flowing track such as Silverstone, the expectation is for a front-row lock-out from Mercedes, for whom Rosberg led the way in the second 90-minute run after a near washout of FP1.

Heavy rain throughout resulted in cars and drivers staying in their garages until the closing 10 minutes when there was a flurry of activity, but even then only 11 drivers posted a time.

Mercifully, the rain relented ahead of FP2, although the track was still damp enough at the start that those who ventured out did so on either wet tyres or the intermediates.

Eventually the conditions improved enough for dry tyres to be used, including experimental rubber from Pirelli they have been looking to introduce in light of recent safety fears.

The track and the tyres certainly caught out Felipe Massa as, for the fourth time in three grands prix weekends, the Brazilian crashed his Ferrari, completing just seven laps and finishing 11 seconds adrift of Rosberg.

The German, who celebrated his 28th birthday yesterday, posted a time of one minute 32.248secs, finishing almost a third of a second faster than Red Bull's Mark Webber, winner twice here in the last three years.

Reigning triple world champion Sebastian Vettel was just over four tenths of a second down, with Force India's Paul Di Resta the best of the Britons in fourth, with Hamilton fifth on the timesheet, the duo 0.584secs and 0.663secs respectively behind Rosberg.

Seemingly vying to be Webber's replacement at Red Bull, Toro Rosso duo Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne were an impressive sixth and seventh quickest, just over a second back.

Force India's Adrian Sutil, Romain Grosjean in his Lotus and the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso completed the top 10, with the latter 1.246secs off the pace.

McLaren duo Jenson Button and Sergio Perez were 11th and 14th, either side of Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg and Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen, who is also in contention to replace Webber.

On his British GP debut, aside from Massa, Marussia's Max Chilton was the slowest on track of those who completed the session, with the 22-year-old finishing five seconds down.

PA

News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003