Felipe Massa topped a rain interrupted second practice session at Silverstone yesterday.
The Ferrari driver only completed nine laps in a largely quiet practice, as heavy rain through the middle of the session saw no one leave the pits for up to 20 minutes.
Come the chequered flag, the Brazilian’s time of 1:49.967 was not to be beaten.
Despite feeling his Ferrari was stable in the wet conditions, Massa tempted only a single run:
“The weather meant it was a difficult day, with rain affecting both the first and second sessions. I had a bit of graining on the fronts, especially at the start of the second session, but towards the end, the situation improved and the performance of the tyre got better all the time.”
Indeed the first flying lap did not come until the half way point, when brightening skies tempted Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari onto the track. Prior to that, several drivers completed installation laps before scurrying back to the dry cover of their respective garages.
With the circuit drying, there was a flurry of activity in the final fifteen minutes, bringing all the quick men out for a single run.
The top spot initially belonged to Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher, before being toppled by teammate Nico Rosberg, who himself would be pipped by Massa.
Rosberg stayed 2nd on the time sheets behind the Ferrari, although Schumacher soon fell to 12th as each new combatant found a drier surface to run on. Schumacher, for his troubles could also argue that each driver ahead of him was in intermediates compared to his full wet tyre configuration.
Kamui Kobayashi claimed 3rd for Sauber. The Japanese driver completed 16 laps in his rebuilt C30 machine, that saw him go narrowly quicker than the McLaren pairing Lewis Hamilton (4th) and Jenson Button (5th).
McLaren brought a new-specification rear wing (Hamilton ran it in the morning, while both used it in the afternoon) and while the wet conditions made it difficult to get a solid read of the parts, Hamilton appeared encouraged:
“Despite the lack of running, today was actually quite encouraging; we tested a couple of things and I managed to pick up quite a decent feeling for the car. It’s going to be interesting tomorrow if it’s dry, because I think our car is looking quite good. The new rear wing also felt quite positive, but we’ve still got to decide whether we carry it over into tomorrow and the race itself.”
Behind the McLaren’s Adrian Sutil headed the Force India pairing to 6th and 7th, while Ruben’s Barrichello helped himself to 8th, albeit two seconds off of Massa’s fastest lap.
Sergio Perez (Sauber) and Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso) claimed 9th and 10th respectively, just nudging ahead of Vitaly Petrov (11th) in the leading Renault.
The two Red Bull pilots, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, barely ran at all. Webber completing just six laps to secure the 14th best time, while Vettel (18th) only circulated four times.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m49.967s 9 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m50.744s + 0.777 16 3. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m51.395s + 1.428 16 4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m51.438s + 1.471 6 5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m51.518s + 1.551 6 6. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m51.738s + 1.771 18 7. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m51.781s + 1.814 7 8. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m51.992s + 2.025 13 9. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m52.169s + 2.202 12 10. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m52.189s + 2.222 21 11. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m52.198s + 2.231 9 12. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m52.325s + 2.358 12 13. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m52.578s + 2.611 16 14. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m52.587s + 2.620 6 15. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m52.869s + 2.902 8 16. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m54.023s + 4.056 8 17. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m54.274s + 4.307 16 18. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m54.545s + 4.578 4 19. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m54.714s + 4.747 13 20. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m55.155s + 5.188 8 21. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m55.155s + 5.188 12 22. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m55.549s + 5.582 10 23. Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1m55.828s + 5.861 10 24. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1m56.037s + 6.070 6