• British Grand Prix - FP1

Grosjean fastest in rain-drenched first practice

ESPN Staff
July 6, 2012
The conditions called for full wet tyres in FP1 © Sutton Images

Romain Grosjean set the pace during a wet first practice session for the British Grand Prix as the forecast rain fell persistently during the 90 minutes.

Standing water covered several corners of the circuit, but fans were still treated to a decent amount of running as the teams geared up for more of the same over the weekend. All drivers went out on the full wet tyres and the best times were set during a brief respite when the rain gave way to drizzle. Grosjean and Daniel Ricciardo set times in the 1:56s, but by the time the heavier rain had set in again the laps were roughly eight seconds off that pace.

For the record, Lewis Hamilton was third fastest ahead of Sergio Perez in fourth, Felipe Massa in fifth and Mark Webber in sixth. Kamui Kobayahsi, seventh fastest, completed the most laps with a crowd-pleasing 19 to his name. And despite some dramatic sideways moments, he only had one proper spin to speak of.

All the drivers managed to keep their cars out of the barriers, which is the biggest risk in such conditions, but several cars did visit the saturated infields. The top drivers in the championship all limited their mileage, wary of the fact that they have a limited supply of full wet tyres for the weekend.

Force India completed just four laps between its two drivers as the team worked on issues on both cars. Test driver Jules Bianchi, who was driving Nico Hulkenberg's car in FP1, completed just one lap. Other test drivers in action were Valtteri Bottas in Bruno Senna's Williams and Dani Clos in Narain Karthikeyan's HRT, but both were fairly limited with seven and 11 laps respectively.

The times revealed very little about the upgrades on some of the cars, with McLaren and Caterham among the teams bringing slightly larger packages to this race. And with rain expected in the afternoon session it is unlikely a true order will emerge, although there is a chance the track will be dry enough to allow the drivers to try the intermediate tyres.