Lewis Hamilton masters the Silverstone rain ahead of British Grand Prix
Friday 06 July 2012
Lewis Hamilton mastered Silverstone's treacherous conditions to fire up
hopes of another wet-weather British Grand Prix triumph akin to 2008.
Throughout the course of the two 90-minute practice sessions the rain was unrelenting, and for a lengthy period at the start of the afternoon run the drivers took shelter in their garages.
At least the fans were eventually treated to some action, as opposed to many other tracks around the world when rain falls which has resulted in the teams opting not to run knowing drier weather is on the way.
But with more rain forecast across the weekend as Britain's sorry summer evolves into the wettest on record, there was a case to at least get laps under their belts and gather data.
With puddles to negotiate on the Northamptonshire circuit, there were obvious dangers, with Bruno Senna and Fernando Alonso two of those caught out.
Both hit standing water, leaving them helpless in uncontrollable cars, and with Senna the major casualty as he ploughed into a wall in his Williams with 30 minutes remaining, bringing out the red flag for a 10-minute hiatus.
As for championship leader Alonso, the Spaniard could do nothing as he slid off the track and on to the grass, his brakes of no use on such a wet surface, hitting a barrier and losing his front wing.
At the top of the timesheet it was Hamilton who led the way in his McLaren, but with times relatively meaningless given the conditions, even for a Friday.
The 27-year-old, who won by 68.5 seconds four years ago for arguably the greatest victory of his Formula One career, posted a time of one minute 56.345secs.
Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, who completed the most laps early on with 19, also posted an afternoon-high of 16, with his best 0.129secs within Hamilton.
Seven-times champion Michael Schumacher, renowned for his skills in the rain over the years, was exactly two tenths of a second behind Hamilton, whilst team-mate Nico Rosberg was 0.222secs off the pace.
Sauber's Sergio Perez was the best of the rest, but almost a further second down, followed by Jenson Button in his McLaren, the 32-year-old 1.603secs behind his team-mate.
The remainder were over two seconds off, led by Heikki Kovalainen in his Caterham and Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen.
As for Alonso, he was 10th, with Force India's Paul di Resta 11th, but three seconds adrift, with reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel narrowly behind in 13th, whilst Senna was 17th.
Lotus' Romain Grosjean and Daniel Ricciardo in his Toro Rosso, one and two in the first session, opted not to set a time in FP2, along with Red Bull's Mark Webber and Pedro de la Rosa for HRT.
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