Grosjean tops soaking first Silverstone practice
6 July 2012 – Rain washed out practice as British Grand Prix track action began on Friday morning. With England having been subjected to such conditions for much of June and the opening days of July, Lotus' Romain Grosjean slid his way to the top of the timesheets. On the contrary, championship leader Fernando Alonso decided not to set a lap time.
Poor weather always had been predicted for the British weekend and that is exactly what the crowd had this morning. Despite that, Silverstone was still inundated by unexpectedly high numbers of spectators which caused a number of traffic jams around the circuit.
Three reserve drivers took part: Jules Bianchi for Force India, Valtteri Bottas for Williams and Dani Clos with HRT. However all three were limited in terms of track time because of the weather; the rain also caused frustrations for Pirelli, which was unable to test its experimental Hard compound tyre which is designed to have a wider operating window but is not expected to be raced before the end of the 2012 season.
Red Bull’s Mark Webber – one of several drivers carrying a modified livery for this weekend – was the first man to post a sub-two-minute lap time, just over 20 minutes into the period. At the same time, numerous other cars were slipping and spinning off the circuit as most teams preferred to remain in the pit lane; stressing this fact, Alonso and both Force India cars failed to post a time across the 90 minutes. Not all adapted this strategy, as Toro Rosso kept up tradition by running both Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Éric Vergne in the worst downpour.
As the session drew to a close at half past 11, the FIA stewards were investigating a late pit lane entry for Kamui Kobayashi which saw the Sauber driver cross the white line. Although the weather caused headaches and frustrations for many, the thoughts of the F1 community remain with Marussia reserve driver Maria de Villota, who is still in a critical state in hospital following her unusual and shocking testing accident on Tuesday.
Practice 2 begins at 2pm local time (BST) and can also be tracked through the interactive GPUpdate.net Live Report