By Berthold Bouman, F1 Correspondent
This time it was Ferrari driver Felipe Massa who was fastest at Silverstone during the Friday afternoon practice session, the Brazilian lapped the circuit in 1m49.967s, which was about three seconds slower than the best practice time in the morning session. With both Friday practices in the books, the Formula One teams will have one final shot tomorrow before qualifying for the British Grand Prix.
It was again raining cats and dogs at the Northamptonshire circuit, Timo Glock, Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari were the first drivers who were brave enough to go out, but came into the pits again without a timed lap. The rain came down even harder and all drivers stayed in, meanwhile Sauber mechanics were still frantically working on Kamui Kobayashi’s car which had been damaged during the crash the Japanese driver had during the first practice this morning.
When his mechanics were finished Kobayashi ventured onto the soaking wet circuit to check out his car, again had a big moment, and decided to return to the pits again. No driver wanted to take the risk of crashing in these atrocious weather conditions, and most were waiting for improvement, sitting in their car in the garage.
After 45 minutes the rain stopped, but there were still big puddles on the circuit, nevertheless Paul di Resta, Alguersuari, Buemi and Adrian Sutil decide to give it a try and left the pit lane on full wet tyres. The track conditions were still treacherous to say the least, but Alguersuari managed to set a time of 2m04.096s. More drivers came out and the lap times gradually went down.
Nico Rosberg had a scary moment ahead of Abbey, but skillfully steered his Mercedes on the run-off area without any damage. With now over an hour into the session, the front runners were still in the garage, but Toro Rosso driver Buemi recorded the fastest time of 1m54.101s.
With only 20 minutes to go, Mark Webber decided to go out and set a time, not much later Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher followed the Australian. Although it was still wet, most drivers were now on the intermediates. Webber was fastest, and was followed by Schumacher, Buemi, Sutil and Alguersuari.
Again the unpredictable British weather changed as it started to rain again, which made it difficult for the ones who had previously elected to stay out to put in a decent lap time. With less than 10 minutes to go, both Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Webber decided they had enough of it, climbed out of their car and called it day.
The rest were in a race to score the fastest time, and Massa eventually took first place, while his Spanish team colleague Fernando Alonso finished in 15th position. Rosberg was this time faster than Schumacher and posted the second fastest time, 0.777s slower than Massa. Schumacher this time ended up on 12th place, but there were a few surprises.
After his morning crash Kobayashi this time managed to keep his car out of the barriers and landed third position. Both McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button took fourth and fifth place respectively, albeit almost one and a half second behind the leader.
Both Force India drivers Sutil and Paul di Resta took sixth and seventh position, just ahead of Rubens Barrichello who took eighth position. Mexican Sergio Perez took the second Sauber to ninth place, and Buemi completed the top ten, 2.222 seconds behind Massa.
Webber and Vettel only went out for six and four laps respectively and after that called it quits, and ended on 14th and 18th position. Thus another practice session ended without giving any information about the of the result of the off-throttle diffuser ban, more rain is expected for Saturday morning, but during qualifying it should be dry, but then again, never trust the British weather.