Silverstone: Free Practice 3 & Qualifying

Free Practice 3:

  • Ferrari: Despite limited running Alonso puts in some decent laps and spends some time leading the pack before the rain, then concretes his position before being usurped by Vettel.
  • Force India: Yet another practice session where di Resta goes faster than Sutil.
  • Hispania: Liuzzi is out early and goes for a small spin, literally. Ricciardo is ahead of Liuzzi in the end by a couple of tenths.
  • Lotus: Kovalainen is again ahead of Trulli, the latter still having trouble getting the ca to perform to his liking.
  • McLaren: Both drivers are a couple of seconds off the leaders with 10 minutes to go, but Button gets his foot on the gas and gets well ahead of Hamilton.
  • Mercedes: Schumacher goes top early, but as the bigger boys begin to wind up  he drops behind. His car is up on the stands and it’s being reported as a gearbox problem.
  • Red Bull: Webber is another driver out early, he’s hoping to emulate his Friday form and is top as the rain cancels play. But not before having his usual run of bad luck, he returns to his garage and the car is soon in pieces due to an engine problem. Webber returns to the track to go top, but a flurry of last minute excitement drops him down a couple of places. Vettel pips everyone to the post.
  • Renault: Not a great session for the team in this interrupted practice.
  • Sauber: Reports of team building between the drivers revolves around fish and chips. But on track the duo are working equally as well with both comfortably inside the top ten.
  • Toro-Rosso: Alguersuari seems to have his groove back as he makes it 2 out of 3 times ahead of Buemi in practice.
  • Williams: Maldonado is the first on the radio to warn of the incoming rain, then later on he briefly leads the field showing that he’s feeling increasingly comfortable in his car.
  • Virgin: Keep ahead of Hispania, and Glock is ahead of d’Ambrosio.

Top FP3 times:

Position Driver Team Time
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:31.401
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:31.464
3 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:31.829

Read: Full FP3 Results

Qualifying:

Q1

The majority of the field leap onto the track as soon as they’re given the green light as the threat of rain is immediate. Di Resta sets the first time, but as the front runners charge through the times fall dramatically. Vettel gets a call from his engineer regarding rain at Copse, and all 24 cars are lapping so traffic is a concern in getting a clean lap in. Both Ferrari and Red Bull drivers are challenging for the fastest times, but half way through the session Alonso loses grip out of Brooklands and drives through the gravel unscathed. But as McLaren stay behind, it’s Williams that are keeping the excitement high. With ten minutes to go Maldonado legitimately owns the P1 slot (with softs), but naturally it doesn’t last. Webber posts the fastest lap with 8.5 minutes to go, then a couple of minutes later the British summer is in full swing and curtails the session. Kovalainen gets his Lotus into Q2 again and managed to outpace Heidfeld.

Out in Q1 are:  ALG, BUE, GLO, TRU, DAM, LIU, RIC and all are inside the 107% rule

Q2

Following the rain there is a split in the tyre strategy, some on inters and others on dry softs. The pit and Copse exits are wet, forcing drivers to tiptoe around certain areas. The top teams stay on inters, leaving the softer tyre for later on. Heidfeld is first to post a time, and again Maldonado proves how much he likes this track as he goes top again. Both Sauber drivers are producing good times too. The weather is throwing in some curve balls, with the likes of Hamilton, Schumacher, Rosberg, Alonso and Massa spending a nervy time in the drop out zone. Sutil shows his hand as he attempts to keep ahead of his oft faster rookie team mate di Resta. Rival engineers have been reported as saying that Webber could be the one to benefit from the off-throttle ban, as they compare him to Vettel. Despite this only being Q2, the desperation on track to make the most of the drying track makes it feel like the top ten shoot out.

Out in Q2 are: SUT, PER, MSC, PET, BAR, HEI, KOV (yes, Schumacher is out…by 4 tenths)

Q3

More rain is expected for this session so the majority of the top ten get out there on the dry soft tyre for one flying lap. Vettel gets the first timed lap in, but Webber is chasing closely and is already up on him in the first sector by a tenth. They switch places in the sector sector, but in the final sector Webber puts down the fastest lap. The home crowd are left begging as McLaren are around 2 seconds behind, but any Ferrari fans willing to out themselves should be joyous. Alonso is within a tenth of Vettel and just over a tenth away from Webber. Di Resta hits the boost button for the home crowd as his hot lap puts him into 6th. Maldonado again shows his strength around this track. The rain makes yet another appearance around the track, and again another session is cut short prematurely, stopping any chance of a last second shoot out. Rosberg almost leaves his P9 grid place with a stunningly brave lap, but pulls into the pits to save his tyres and avoid a possible accident.

Top Qualifying times:

Position Driver Team Time
1 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:30.399
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:30.431
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:30.516

Read: Full Qualifying Results

Keeping the 100% pole position record on track

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