British weather helps Vettel on his way to P2 on the grid

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Sebastian Vettel has matched his best qualifying result of the 2014 F1 season at Silverstone today, and will start the British Grand Prix from second place on the grid.

The four-time world champion has had a difficult start to the year, scoring just two podium finishes and falling way behind the all-conquering Mercedes drivers in the championship standings. However, he managed to tame the wet conditions in England today to secure P2 in qualifying, matching his result from Saturday in Malaysia.

“It was a very weird session,” Vettel said during the post-qualifying press conference. “A lot of rain, no rain, drizzling, very fine rain, nearly like spray; I think England is the only country where you can get this sort of rain and conditions and changing so quickly.”

Many of the drivers struggled in the conditions, but Vettel asserted that it was a case of taking enough risk without going too far.

“Incredibly difficult to know what was coming so on the flying lap you approach turn one and turn one is a pretty big balls corner, so it’s difficult to know how much risk you can take,” he explained. “Eventually, you have to take some risk because, especially in my case, I wanted to set a lap.

“So obviously very happy that it turned out. Yeah, very positive and starting from the front row tomorrow.”

Vettel will be hoping to convert his front row start into his third podium finish of the season on Sunday, but will face stiff competition from the McLaren and Force India drivers not far behind.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton will also be gunning to make up some positions after a mistake in qualifying that leaves him sixth on the grid.

You can watch the British Grand Prix live on CNBC and Live Extra from 7:30am ET tomorrow.

MRTI: pre-season testing Day 2 notebook

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Day 2 of testing for the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires saw two series hit the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course for pre-season testing. The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda both got their turns on Saturday after the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires took to the 1.5-mile oval on Friday.

Both series got in two sessions apiece during the day. Below are quick reports for Pro Mazda and USF2000.

Pro Mazda: Thompson, Askew Lead Opening Sessions

A pair of USF2000 graduates led the two sessions for Pro Mazda. In Session 1, it was Parker Thompson and Exclusive Autosport leading the way, while Cape Motorsports’ Oliver Askew, last year’s USF2000 champion, led the way in Session 2. Times from both sessions are below.

Juncos Racing’s Rinus VeeKay, last year’s runnerup in the USF2000 championship, also put in a strong showing, ending up second in Session 2.

This was also the first official session for the brand new Tatuus PM-18, and it’s first official outing showed off quite a bit of speed. Lap times were reportedly upwards of four seconds a lap faster than the previous Elan Pro Mazda chassis.

USF2000: Pabst Racing, Cape Motosports Lead the Way

The teams that battled for last year’s USF2000 crown, Cape Motorsports and Pabst Racing, traded early blows during Saturday testing, with each team leading a session.

Pabst Racing’s Rasmus Lindh led the way in Session 1, with four Pabst cars in the top five, while Kyle Kirkwood led Session 2 for Cape. Times from both sessions are below.

However, it should be noted that DEForce Racing’s Kory Enders spent most of Session 2 at the top of the speed charts before getting pushed down to third late in the running. With the top three finishers from last year’s USF2000 championship all moving on to Pro Mazda (Askew, VeeKay, and Thompson), this USF2000 season could be anyone’s for the taking.

Of note, Keith Donegan, who signed with ArmsUp Motorsports after winning the $200K scholarship from Mazda Motorsports in November’s Mazda Road to Indy Shootout, was 16th in Session 1, but did not turn laps in Session 2.

Follow@KyleMLavigne