Practice 2: Hamilton brings cheer to home fans at end of a dreary wet day
6 July, 2012
Jul.6 (Apex) Thousands of F1 fans descended on Silverstone for the opening day of the British Grand Prix weekend, only to be greeted by dreary wet weather and long traffic queues, while their tenacity was tested even further as they sat through two practice sessions which featured hardly any action.
Nevertheless, they were rewarded by local hero Lewis Hamilton ending the afternoon session fastest of all in the McLaren, in a session which saw Bruno Senna crash his Williams heavily and Fernando Alonso, less heavily, when he tapped the barriers late on in the session before the Ferrari returned to the pits without a front wing.
Hamilton, who won the race back in 2008, only did eight laps (in the dry he would probably do 30 plus laps in a 90 minutes session) on his way to the fastest time of the day. His best – 1 minute 56.345 seconds – was up on Romain Grosjean’s best in FP1 earlier in the day. The track was pretty much in the same condition, if not even more soaked when Hamilton decided to unleash some quick laps to perk up the home crowd despite treacherous conditions.
So treacherous in fact, that they caught out Bruno Senna in a big way as he got onto the power entering Hangar Straight, lost the back end and could only wait for the impact, as he bounced over the wet grass and into the barrier. He hopped out of the FW34 but the damage appeared substantial.
Second quickest was Kamui Kobayashi, again doing more laps than any of his rivals, proving that the Sauber C31 is also a handy car in tricky conditions such as those in Malaysia when Sergio Perez finished on the podium after challenging for the lead. In this session the Mexican was fifth.
Sandwiched between the Sauber duo on the timing screens were the Mercedes pair, with Michael Schumacher – a three time winner of the British GP – ending the day third fastest and Nico Rosberg fourth a mere 0.022 adrift of the seven times world champion.
Sixth best was Jenson Button in his McLaren, ahead of Heikki Kovalainen showing his skills on a level playing field, albeit a very wet one, with the seventh best time to show for his efforts.
Up next was the other Finn in the field, Kimi Raikkonen who ended eighth fastest in the Lotus ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India.
Rounding out the top ten was Alonso in the Ferrari, who was fortunate (or unfortunate depending on how you look at it) to escape with minor damage when the rear of the F2012 tried to overtake him on the exit of Stowe, sending him spinning onto the grass where he appeared to control it but it aquaplaned gently into the barriers. The Spaniard kept the engine running and returned to the pits sans front wing.
Ferrari summed up the incident, “In the final moments Fernando Alonso was another victim of aquaplaning and he was unable to avoid an impact with the barriers, breaking the nose of his F2012 to confirm how difficult conditions were at the circuit.”
Out of the top ten and really not bothered were both Red Bull drivers, Vettel ending 13th and over three seconds down on Hamilton’s best, while Mark Webber didn’t bother to set a time.
In the end fans got a glimpse of action, impressive at that, but only occasionally – in total probably less than an hour of track activity when they paid for three hours, and all because teams/drivers have the need to save tyres because FIA deems that only three sets of wets can be used during the course of the weekend.
Hamilton felt for his home crowd when he told the BBC, “I feel sorry for the fans out there because so many turned up but we have to save all the tyres we have as we don’t have spare tyres to waste. I would like some more tyres personally, more so for the fans as there are so many today and it is boring for them to just sit there. They have paid a lot of money to be here so we should be putting on a show for them. It is constructive criticism, maybe we can do a little more on days like this.”
The bad news is that the wet weather appears to have entrenched itself over middle England and may hang around for the entire weekend…let’s hope they are wrong again!
Subbed by AJN.
British Grand Prix, Practice 2 – Friday, 6 July 2012
|9||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:58.943||2.598||12|
|11||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:59.429||3.084||9|
|13||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:59.476||3.131||10|
|21||10||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||No time||1|
|22||16||Daniel Ricciardo||STR-Ferrari||No time||2|
|23||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||No time||1|
|24||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||No time||0|