Nobody shone brighter than Mercedes on Friday as their cars predictably topped two fairly eventful practice sessions of Silverstone’s 50th Grand Prix on Sunday. Rosberg took the honours in the first session, whereas it was Hamilton who did so in P2.
Susie Wolff of Williams became the first woman in 22 years to compete in a Grand Prix session, running instead of Valtteri Bottas. The Scot ran reasonably well, until an engine problem curtailed her running after just four laps.
Williams are supplied by Mercedes, for whom Toto Wolff – Susie’s husband – is Team Principal. Perhaps he had better unfurl the sofa-bed for a few days…
The team’s day went further down the toilet when Felipe Massa piled into the wall right in front of the pit lane entry. He went too wide on the kerb, and the rear lost traction, spinning him in to the wall. The heavy crash ruined his FW356, and brought out the red flag. Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Rosberg both overtook under the red-flag period and are currently (at the time of writing) under stewards’ investigation.
* UPDATE * No further action will be taken against the Aussie and the German.
The debris was cleared and the track declared green. However, not long after, Marcus Ericsson also spun the car on the entry to Stowe and beached his Caterham, bringing out flags of a yellow nature.
Rosbeg set the pace with a time of 1:35.424 Hamilton then followed 7 tenths down ahead of Alonso in third.
Lewis Hamilton set the early pace in this windy session, before an oil pressure problem sidelined him just two corners in to his second run. Romain Grosjean aimed to continue Lotus’ improvements at their home race, but running wide at Luffield only added dust to his car, though some opposite-lock driving did look pretty cool.
The most bizarre occurrence in this session was Valtteri Bottas’ car, which suddenly converted to naturism, shedding half of its engine cover on the way down the Hangar Straight.
It means Williams are the most consistent team so far this weekend, with all three of their drivers succumbing to some sort of problem. So that’s something.
Hamilton’s best lap was 1:38:508, a time nobody was able to overcome. Rosberg was two tenths off his home-grown team mate, and Alonso; the best of the rest, was a further half a second down.
Qualifying tomorrow is predicted to be a wet one, so grab your ponchos, and the edge of your seat!