Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton walks down the pit lane. Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Hamilton fastest at rain-soaked Silverstone

On a soggy, puddle-strewn circuit at Silverstone, the 27-year-old Briton threw his McLaren around the track in thrilling fashion.

LEWIS HAMILTON PUT on a solo show to thrill the rain-soaked crowds and top the times in today afternoon’s second free practice session for this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

On a soggy, puddle-strewn circuit at Silverstone, the 27-year-old Briton threw his McLaren around the track in thrilling fashion, frequently rescuing it and himself when he appeared to be sliding off.

His dramatic effort, during the final 20 minutes of the day’s action after heavy rain had wrecked all the previous practice time, provided bright, if limited entertainment for a good Friday crowd that had been frustrated by appalling traffic problems before being soaked in the storms.

Japanese Kamui Kobayashi of Sauber was second fastest and also delivered several exciting laps ahead of seven-times champion Michael Schumacher of Mercedes, who showed flashes of his old mastery of such treacherous conditions. The veteran German’s team-mate and compatriot Nico Rosberg wound up fourth fastest ahead of Mexican Sergio Perez in the second Sabuer and Briton Jenson Button in the second McLaren.

The session offered few, if any, clues to the weekend ahead as more than an hour was lost to the weather before Bruno Senna, in a Williams, ventured out and was rewarded for his courage by losing control and crashing heavily on Hangar Straight, seriously damaging the left side of his car. The session was red-flagged to a halt and it was only after the debris was cleared that the fans were given much to cheer with a clutch of cars taking to the track. Before Senna’s crash, only two cars had set times, but by the end of the day the majority had lapped the circuit and only four drivers, including Mark Webber of Red Bull, had not turned a wheel.

Webber’s team-mate, defending double champion Sebastian Vettel, was 13th fastest in the wet finale, three places behind championship leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari who survived a lurid spin in the rain to secure 10th fastest position.

- © AFP, 2012

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