Nico Rosberg set the fastest time in Friday’s second practice session at the British Grand Prix as he looks to make it four pole positions in the last five races. Red Bull also looked strong, with Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel setting the second and third fastest times, respectively, ahead of Force India’s Paul Di Resta and the second Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was down in 10th, with fellow title hopeful Kimi Raikkonen in 13th after a day that was heavily impacted once again by the elements at the English circuit.
The first session was almost completely wiped out by the rain, while the second still began in damp conditions. Although it was difficult to get too much of a picture about what might happen in the dry conditions that are expected for the rest of the weekend, Rosberg’s one-lap pace again looked strong, while the Mercedes also appeared to fare much better than they have earlier in the season under race conditions. However, Rosberg was only cautiously optimistic.
“On one lap the car is still quick, so qualifying should be okay,” he said, according to Formula One website. “But the question mark is our race speed. We practiced the race speed today and it felt decent so far. But it could be a completely different picture on Sunday as the weather should be a lot warmer, so we don't know where we are right now compared to the others.”
The talk leading up to the British Grand Prix has unsurprisingly centered on Webber’s announcement that he will be retiring at the end of the current season. But the 36-year-old is fully focused this weekend on trying to claim a third win at Silverstone and expects a close battle.
“I think that both Seb and I ran different compounds and got the information we need for the race,” he explained. “Today we did a snapshot of work for tomorrow, but mostly the focus was for Sunday. I think the race will be quite tight, to be honest I don’t think there’s anyone charging away.”
Since Webber’s revelation, Red Bull have revealed to Sky Sports that they are looking at Toro Rosso pair Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, as well as Raikkonen. The Finn could do with a positive result this weekend if he is to remain in the hunt for a second world title as he currently sits 44 points behind his potential future teammate Vettel.
The biggest driver to change teams in the last offseason, Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, continues to struggle to find the right setup in his Mercedes. But the former McLaren man tried to sound a positive tone for his prospects in qualifying at his home Grand Prix.
“I'm struggling a little with the balance of my car so there's some work to do overnight to get us into shape for qualifying,” he said. “We haven't quite got it hooked up yet and you can really tell that on this circuit, particularly with Becketts and Maggots [corners]. I'm confident we'll fix it tomorrow though.”
Where to watch: Qualifying for the British Grand Prix will get underway at 8 a.m. ET. A live stream will be available on NBC Sports Live Extra, with delayed coverage on the NBC Sports Network at 2 p.m.