Rosberg excels in dry to top second practice

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Nico Rosberg has finished quickest in the second free practice session for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone as the drivers had their first chance to complete some dry running on Friday afternoon.

Although the rain had stopped falling by the beginning of FP2, the drivers were still unsure of the track conditions and opted to venture out on intermediate tires at the beginning of the session, with the Red Bulls leading the way. Defending world champion and former British GP winner Sebastian Vettel posted the first time of 1:44.038, but he was not to remain quickest for long as the track began to dry out. Jenson Button told his engineer that “the circuit is pretty dry,”, whilst Nico Hulkenberg suggested that Sauber try slicks. Before long, the entire field had put on a set of hard tires with Adrian Sutil sitting P1 after 20 minutes of the session.

Felipe Massa’s session came to an early end following a spectacular slide on the exit of the Hangar Straight, before his Ferrari F138 eventually nosedived into the wall close to pit entry. Luckily, he was perfectly fine, although the same could not be said about his car. At the front, Force India tamed the conditions well, even if Sutil did push too hard through Maggots and Becketts on more than one occasion, just about keeping it on track every time.

The majority of the runners soon switched to the softer compound in order to evaluate the medium tire, benefitting Vettel and Rosberg as they hit the front, and it soon became a question of beating the weather after Valtteri Bottas received a message to expect rain before the end of the session. Lewis Hamilton also joined the front runners, meaning that Mercedes, Red Bull, Force India and Toro Rosso had locked out the top eight places with half an hour to go, with Jean-Eric Vergne gesturing to a slow-moving Sergio Perez after his lap was compromised whilst Nico Rosberg went fastest with a lap of 1:32.248.

Once their medium runs had been completed, most of the field switched back to hard tires and high fuel in an attempt to prepare for the race on Sunday before experimenting with the medium tire once again. Despite the rain holding off, no driver could better their previous times, meaning that Rosberg finished fastest ahead of Webber and Vettel, with British fans also catered for in P4 and P5 by Paul di Resta and Lewis Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton comes home to Mercedes factory after fourth title

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On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.

And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.

Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home ofΒ Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.

The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.

“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.

“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.

“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”

A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.