Saturday, July 07, 2012
Button fears rain could wash out British GP
By Alan Baldwin
SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) - McLaren's Jenson Button fears Sunday's British Formula One Grand Prix could be a washout after steady rain made driving hazardous in practice on Friday.
The 2009 world champion, who has never stood on the podium at his home grand prix, told reporters at Silverstone that trying to put in laps on the slippery surface had been a "scary" experience.
"I don't think we would want to race in those conditions," said Button. "I do like the wet but when there's standing water on straights at 290kph then it is a little bit scary."
Brazilian Bruno Senna, in a Williams, and Ferrari's championship leader Fernando Alonso aquaplaned off the track and into the tyre wall during the afternoon session.
Both morning and afternoon saw cars lapping in heavy spray.
"When you are on your own you can do what you want, find your way around it, but when you are in a pack it's very difficult," Button said of the difference between free practice and racing.
"I can't see us being allowed to race in these conditions but qualifying, yes, so it's useful to do some mileage out there, get an understanding of the car and the circuit."
Button joined other drivers in expressing sympathy with fans, who had little action to watch, after in some cases hours spent queuing in traffic to get in, because teams needed to save their tyres.
That was because drivers have only three sets each of deep-grooved extreme wet tyres for the weekend, along with four sets of intermediate tyres for damp conditions, with the rain expected to continue throughout.
Button's team mate Lewis Hamilton, the last Briton to win at Silverstone with his crushing victory in 2008, said he would have liked to do more laps and praised the fans for their loyalty.
"It must have been a bit boring for them sitting there and not seeing people go round," he said. "But we don't have many tyres to waste so we can't afford to go out and fine tune the set up unfortunately.
"Perhaps it's something we can look to improve next time."
Hamilton also took issue with the drainage, noting the amount of standing water and suggesting the circuit take a look at the situation for next year.
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)