SILVERSTONE, England, (Reuters) – Rain put a dampener on practice for the British Grand Prix on Friday with Red Bull’s Mark Webber fastest in the morning and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa on top of largely meaningless timesheets after lunch.
Fans huddling in the grandstands on what Red Bull team boss Christian Horner smilingly described as a typical English summer’s day, with three seasons in as many hours, could only watch the rain falling steadily on an empty track for much of the second session.
Only after 51 of the 90 minutes had ticked away did a driver set a proper timed lap, with Toro Rosso’s Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari at least giving the crowd some engine noise as he splashed around.
Massa, the fastest of the Ferrari drivers in the morning, set his best time of one minute 49.967 seconds right at the end of the session and on a drying track to topple Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg off the top.
Webber, last year’s winner at Silverstone, had been quickest in the morning with a best lap of 1:46.603 despite shutting down the engine and parking up on track at the end as a precautionary measure.
He was 14th after the break.
Seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher, who had told reporters on Thursday that he hoped for rain and got his wish, was second quickest for Mercedes in the morning and 0.660 off Webber’s pace.
Reigning world champion and runaway title favourite Sebastian Vettel, who has won six of eight races to build up a 77-point lead over McLaren’s Jenson Button and team mate Webber, was 13th and 18th respectively.