Silverstone – Maybe the Formula 1 world has been unfair on the Belgian circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, as it always mentioned in the same breath as bad weather and rain. In truth, in recent years we have experienced those conditions more often here in Silverstone than in the Ardennes and again today, the British track delivered a damp start to the track action for the British Grand Prix.
Sadly, as our Technical Director Pat Fry acknowledged, this means the poor spectators had to wait until the dryer afternoon session before getting a taste of what they had come to see. It has to be said, that even on what was a cold, wet and generally miserable day, as usual the grandstands opposite the pits were already packed out on a Friday, which was a great sight to see.
Unfortunately, the Prancing Horse fans did not get to see much of Felipe Massa, as he was caught out by a damp patch of track, while running the Prototype Hard compound tyres which Pirelli had brought for all drivers to try today only. It meant the Brazilian lost control of his F138 and when the car slipped onto the grass he was reduced to being a passenger in his own car.
It collided with the barriers, damaging the front and putting an end to Felipe’s session after only a few minutes and 7 laps. From then on, the team’s attention focussed solely on Fernando Alonso who completed 32 laps to go tenth on the time sheet. By tonight, Felipe’s car will be repaired, ready to face the final free practice hour tomorrow morning, followed by the afternoon qualifying session.
All the forecasts are currently predicting a dry day with almost summery temperatures, which is good news for everyone, including those brave spectators! Quickest today was Nico Rosberg for Mercedes, while Mark Webber, who yesterday announced he will retire from Formula 1 at the end of the season, was second fastest ahead of his Red Bull team-mate, Sebastian Vettel.
Next up was the first of the local heroes, even if he comes from Scotland, in the shape of Force India’s Paul di Resta, with another British driver, Lewis Hamilton fifth for Mercedes. Rounding up the top six was the Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo.