Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg set a time of 1m32.248s to claim the top spot on the medium tyre.
Silverstone – After a wet start to the day, the drivers eventually got the chance to test Pirelli’s new prototype hard compound in the afternoon, which is the same compound that was used during free practice in Spain.
Just like Canada, the first free practice session was characterised by rain, which meant that there was little running and most of the limited action that did take place happened on Cinturato Blue full wet tyres.
But with 40 minutes to go, Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg set a time of 1m32.248s to claim the top spot on the medium tyre, which he was never to lose. For the final part of the afternoon session, the teams concentrated on race simulations using different fuel loads on each tyre, in order to evaluate potential wear rates and strategies.
In the rain-affected morning session, Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo was fastest on the full wets, with no drivers setting any times until the final 15 minutes of the hour and a half session. His time of 1m54.249s was 0.784s quicker than the Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “Because of the rain, it meant that the drivers didn’t get as much running as they would have liked on the two sets of new prototype tyres that we brought here for free practice only, which is actually the same prototype hard tyre that we brought to Spain last month.
On that occasion the running on this tyre was curtailed again due to rain during free practice. So that was frustrating but not all together surprising this time, given that we’re in England! The morning session was a complete washout but it did at least give the teams some valuable knowledge of the full wet tyres, which have not been used that often this year despite a few wet sessions.
This afternoon’s session finally had some running on the prototype tyres but we did not gain a lot of data because of a lack of track time this morning. The medium and hard race compounds so far show a difference in lap time of around one second, but we still have plenty of data to analyse. With tomorrow and Sunday expected to be dry, it will be interesting to see how the teams adapt their strategies.”