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One of those days in England...

NEWS STORY
05/07/2014

Following yesterday's ideal conditions - other than those strong winds - this morning was a little more 'British', with unseasonably cool temperatures and rain.

With confusion as to how the weather will play out for the remainder of the weekend, and not wishing to take any risks damaging their cars ahead of qualifying, a number of drivers opted not to run this morning including Alonso and the Mercedes duo.

In their absence their rivals made hay, Renault powered cars filling the first four places on the timesheets... and when did we last see that happen.

The Red Bulls, which have a clear aero advantage in the dry, were the class of the field, Vettel clearly revelling in the conditions. Indeed, it would be understandable if a tabloid journo were to uncover a snap of the entire Milton Keynes squad doing a rain dance.

Looking good this morning and yesterday were the McLaren duo while a late charge saw Sutil take fifth in the Sauber.

That said, the German's time was subsequently scrutinised by the Stewards following Charlie Whiting's announcement that, as in Austria, he will have "zero tolerance" to cars running wide and gaining an advantage. The corners he will be paying particular attention to are the final corner (Club) and Copse (Turn 9).

While the rain has stopped it remains damp and the dark clouds lining the circuit indicate we are sure to be in for more of the wet stuff during the course of the next hour.

Marussia has been busy over the break, repairing the damage to Bianchi's car following his off and changing the gearbox on his teammate's car. Sadly, the change o gearbox means that the Briton picks up a five-place grid penalty for his home race.

In terms of temperature, little change since this morning, air temperature remains 16 degrees C, while the track temperature is 21 degrees.

With the rain making a gradual return, there should be action from the outset, drivers keen to get in that all important banker lap.

In case you'd forgotten - pay attention - tyre options are hard (prime) and medium (option), though Inters look to be the order of the day right now. Also, there are two DRS zone, the detection point of the first is before Turn 3, with the activation point after Turn 5, while the second detection point is at Turn 11 with the activation point after Turn 14.

The lights go green and Bianchi heads the queue at the end of the pitlane. Surprisingly, the big guns hang back, even though the sky is getting darker. All those on track are using Inters.

Eyeing the sky, the Mercedes duo get to work, all but Bottas, Raikkonen and Massa are on track. As the Ferrari heads out of its garage only the Williams duo remain.

Hamilton reports that the track is "very dry". That said, he then has a wobble on the Wellington Straight.

As the first flying laps are completed, the Williams duo remain stoically in their garage. Are they intending to appear on slicks we wonder.

Vettel goes quickest (45.086) but is subsequently eclipsed by Rosberg, Ricciardo and Hamilton (43.676).

Perez is told that there is rain on the pit-wall. It's light but it is raining. Massa lave the pits... on Inters. Shortly after, Bottas follows.

"If the weather stays as it is you should be safe," Hamilton is told. Looking at the sky that's a mighty big if.

A pair of scrappy laps from Raikkonen but he improves to 12th with a 47.350.

Massa goes fifth on his first flying lap, however a 45.318 from his teammate sees the Brazilian drop to sixth.

Gutierrez, Sutil and Chilton swap to options as does Button. The problem, of course, is generating sufficient heat into them, not easy in these conditions.

As Button goes quickest in S1, Hamilton and Rosberg emerge on options. The McLaren driver goes quickest in S2 also finally crossing the line at 47.357. However, with Kvyat just ahead, he makes a mistake and runs wide in the final corner. Will his time be allowed?

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1. Posted by bfairey, 05/07/2014 18:40

"Mickey mouse rules from the chief mouse Whiting."

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