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Practice One - Webber tops but stops at soggy Silverstone 08 Jul 2011

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB7.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Practice Day, Silverstone, England, Friday, 8 July 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Practice Day, Silverstone, England, Friday, 8 July 2011 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber C30 crashed in the first practice session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Practice Day, Silverstone, England, Friday, 8 July 2011 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) F111.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Practice Day, Silverstone, England, Friday, 8 July 2011 Karun Chandhok (IND) Team Lotus T128 Reserve Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Practice Day, Silverstone, England, Friday, 8 July 2011

Mark Webber set the fastest time in an inconclusive first practice session on Friday morning at Silverstone, lapping his Red Bull in 1m 46.603s. The Australian rolled to a halt at the end of the session, however, with an undisclosed problem.

The 90 minutes were characterised by changeable weather, as the session began on a wet track which became worse as it rained intermittently before a late improvement.

Michael Schumacher was second fastest for Mercedes, 0.660s adrift of Webber, with Rubens Barrichello pushing up to third after a late run for Williams reaped 1m 47.347s. Sergio Perez likewise improved late to 1m 47.422s, which was a boost for Sauber after the tricky conditions had earlier caught out team mate Kamui Kobayashi who crashed his C30 heavily on the exit to Club.

Felipe Massa was another late improver, to 1m 47.562s for Ferrari, with Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg completing the runners below 1m 48s with 1m 47.758s.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was seventh on 1m 48.161s, which had been the fastest time prior to the late burst of improvements. Ferrari spent the session trying different aerodynamic configurations.

Lewis Hamilton ventured out on slicks at one stage before reverting to Pirelli’s intermediates like everyone else, and lapped his McLaren in 1m 48.549s for eighth spot ahead of Force India tester Nico Hulkenberg on 1m 48.598s, Jaime Alguersuari on 1m 48.678s for Toro Rosso, Paul di Resta in the second Force India on 1m 48.730s, Sebastien Buemi in the other Toro Rosso on 1m 48.778s, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel who had a low-key morning which included an off at Club, Williams’ Pastor Maldonado on 1m 48.809s, McLaren’s Jenson Button on 1m 48.841s and Nick Heidfeld in the lead Renault on 1m 48.941s. Vitaly Petrov was 17th in the other Renault on 1m 49.603s.

Kobayashi was left 18th on 1m 50.133s, chased by Jarno Trulli in the leading Lotus on 1m 50.222s. He had team mate Karun Chandhok, subbing for Heikki Kovalainen, behind him on 1m 51.119s. Timo Glock was 21st for Virgin on 1m 52.470s, then came Tonio Liuzzi in the faster HRT on 1m 53.143s. His new team mate Daniel Ricciardo had earlier been right on his tail before the Italian made a late jump; the Australian was 24th on 1m 54.334s, behind Jerome D’Ambrosio in the other Virgin on 1m 53.469s.

Hopefully, Friday afternoon’s session will offer more consistent conditions so that firmer conclusions can be drawn about the effect of the off-throttle diffuser ban.

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