Vettel Quickest As Mercedes Avoid Rain-Affected Practice

The rain came down on the Silverstone circuit before the third practice session got underway, leaving teams sheltering in their garages and hoping that the track would dry itself. In the first fifteen minutes, no one circulated for a timed lap, but Jenson Button, Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton all did installation laps, the latter conducting practice starts at the end of the pitlane.

Finally, Marcus Ericsson led Kamui Kobayashi across the line to record first and second, before being beaten by the Toro Rosso duo and split by the Marussia of Jules Bianchi. Daniil Kvyat had a big sideways moment coming out of the final corner but skilfully held control of the STR9 and stayed out of the wall. Romain Grosjean came a lot closer to tearing the nose cone off his car when he lost control out of the same corner and spun sideways across the line, while setting the second fastest lap. He too managed to regain control, with a few inches to spare, and went on his way.

Daniel Ricciardo jumped to the top of the timesheets when he set his first lap, and was then beaten by Vettel, also on his first lap. Lewis Hamilton came out to exert his dominance, and was half-a-second up on Vettel’s time until he went wide at Stowe corner, to the chuckles of team-mate Nico Rosberg in the garage.

Jules Bianchi made the same mistake a few minutes later, but at a much higher speed, and skidded into the tyre barriers at the end of hangar straight, ending his session prematurely. Adrian Sutil did a similar thing, too, but just about managed to get the car turned and out of the gravel.

Bottas, a driver who usually excels in the wet conditions, was the next to take to the track for the first time and went seventh provisionally. Jenson Button, a driver who also performs best in the wet, then put in a lap to also go seventh.

The rain had stopped by the time the session came towards the end, but the remaining water proved enough to catch a few drivers out – such as Sergio Perez who locked his tyres up into Stowe corner, or Nico Hulkenberg who suffered a nasty twitch which sent him wide at the old pit straight.

Although the two Red Bull drivers ended the session fastest, the two Mercedes drivers didn’t record a time, meaning this session is not representative. The Mercedes speed over Red Bull, before pitting, was strong enough to suggest yet another Mercedes 1-2 lockout in Qualifying – but will it be Hamilton or Rosberg who takes the glory?

Free Practice Two results:

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Daniel Ricciardo
  3. Pastor Maldonado
  4. Romain Grosjean
  5. Adrian Sutil
  6. Daniil Kvyat
  7. Kevin Magnussen
  8. Jenson Button
  9. Valtteri Bottas
  10. Kimi Raikkonen
  11. Jean-Eric Vergne
  12. Felipe Massa
  13. Nico Hulkenberg
  14. Esteban Gutierrez
  15. Sergio Perez
  16. Marcus Ericsson
  17. Jules Bianchi
  18. Kamui Kobayashi

Image courtesy of Red Bull/Getty Images. 


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Filed under F1, Free Practice Report

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