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Page last updated at 15:13 GMT, Friday, 4 July 2008 16:13 UK
British Grand Prix
Silverstone, 4-6 July


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By Sam Lyon

1540: Right, so that's it for Friday, come back on Saturday when we get into the business end of the weekend. Not a bad day - thrills and spills on the track and the Donington announcement off it. You can all continue to chat the day away on 606 - just make sure you come and keep me company again tomorrow. You're all legends.
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1531: And that's how it finishes, Kovalainen - courtesy of a cracking middle section - topping the charts with his impressive early run, followed by Webber, Hamilton - and David Coulthard, who made a late push to fourth with a 1:20.589. Jenson Button, Britain's other hope for the weekend, might just be quite pleased with his seventh place this afternoon - though he'll still be praying for rain, I guess - while the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa may have struggled a touchn this afternoon, but don't bet against them returning better and faster come Saturday.
Practice report

1528: A late charge from Lewis Hamilton, who is looking to finish this session with a bang, the Briton posting a time of 1:20.543 to go third, while Mark Webber posts an even more impressive 1:20.520. Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen are failing to make any waves - could they be testing the wet weather set up? Rain is forecast...

"C'mon Button - I'm a JB (James Brittain) and I've been trying to grow a beard to match his- and I'm a fast driver... just in a terrible car at the moment..."
BirdlipOsprey2007 on 606

1518: Australian and BBC columnist Mark Webber is beginning to tear it up out there now, posting his fastest lap of the day with a time of 1:20.797 to go third in the standings. Massa clocks his quickest circuit of the afternoon following his delayed start with a time of 1:20.943 to move into sixth place, but Kovalainen remains top of the pile and sitting pretty with his 1:19.989. Anyone care to bet against him winning on Sunday?
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1512: "The spectators at Stowe are getting their money's worth today. Jarno Trulli has just become the umpteenth driver to spin there, after his Toyota jettisoned its rear wing in rather worrying fashion at the end of Hangar Straight."
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson at Silverstone

1506: Felipe Massa is back out on the track - hurrah - his fastest lap stands at 1:21.302 this afternoon, but provided he holds him and his car together this weekend, he showed he had the pace to trouble the podium already this morning.

1504: Heikki Kovalainen continues to top the charts with a time of 1:19.989, while Rosberg, Vettel and Button are also impressing behind the Finn. Hamilton and Raikkonen are clearly on a tyre-saving mission of some description it would seem, the pair putting some testing laps in without real pace - they're sitting eighth and 12th in the standings.

Brits Up
1447: Even better from Jenson Button, he of the dodgy facial hair clocking a 1:20.929 to move up to fourth in the standings. David Coulthard also moves up a place to eighth with a 1:21.299.

1439: Storming lap from Heikki Kovalainen - the Finn clocking a 1:20.353 to top the charts - while Sebastian Vettel is second fastest at the moment with a 1:20.805 - I've been impressed by the German this year too.

Brits Up
Jenson Button leaps up the charts to seventh with a 1:21.280 and it's Toyota's Jarno Trulli bringing up the rear - bar Massa who is not out there - at the moment.

1433: It's all a bit quiet at the moment, with the likes of Hamilton, Kovalainen, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Massa, and the BMWs in the paddock. Seems like as good a time as any to ask for your suggestions for our coverage next season - don't forget, F1 returns to the BBC. Get involved on 606 and let us know what you think.
Your dream wish list for F1 on the BBC

"Heikki looks comfortable and confident today. I hope his luck holds out for once and allows a decent result for him - in all honesty I didn't think he got much credit for an excellent drive in France."
Hakaka on 606

"Important weekend this for McLaren, they are in real danger of finishing 3rd this year."
Join the debate on 606
(Well, so far so good for McLaren, with Heikki impressing in the morning and Lewis impressing early in this session. BMW were struggling until a decent lap from Heidfeld earlier - he is continuing to clock up the most laps out there - SL)

"I think strange 'celeb fancies' is because Radio One are asking people to txt them in."
James Redditch via text
(Haha, cheers for that James. I did wonder. Any mention of Sue Barker yet? I've always been a fan - SL)

Brits Down
1420: Jenson Button continues to struggle - he's 0.914secs behind Hamilton with the 17th fastest time - how he must be praying for rain. David Coulthard isn't faring much better just yet he's 14th fastest - while, with an hour, 10 minutes left of the session, Felipe Massa has yet to emerge...

Brits Up
1414: Lewis Hamilton posts the fastest lap of the session so far of 1:21.282 - only for Nico Rosberg to match it soon after.

For some reason, there is a lot of chat coming through on texts about strange celebrity fancies. Michelle McManus and John Thompson have received honourable mentions - who's the darling of the pits as far as you lot are concerned?

"Button or DC for the win. I'm so bored of the Hamilton hype."
DG, Coventry via text

1407: A brief stay at the top of the time charts for Robert Kubica, who is displaced by Heikki Kovalainen's first run of 1:21.843. Lewis Hamilton limps round in 1:27.349 - not sure why that is just yet - while Massa, Raikkonen, Alonso, Barrichello and Sutil remain in the paddock.

1400: Fisichella - he loves to get out early doesn't he? - Glock and Heidfeld are first out on the track. Bright skies over Silverstone, still, no sign of those heavy showers that are forecast for the weekend.

1355: Five minutes to go until second practice gets under way, then. Be interesting to see what Massa drives out of the pits, and also whether McLaren and Ferrari continue to dominate around the track. BMW will need to step it up too, not that Kubica sees himself as a title contender anyway, apparently...
Kubica cools talk over F1 title

"Button is like our tennis players, hopeless but one of the 'almost made it's."
medicaltech on 606
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(Massively harsh that, if you ask me medicaltech. Ask around the paddock and I think you'll find he is very highly rated as a driver - albeit one who has arguably not made the best decisions re: his team. Honda, for example, are desperate to give him a car to match his talent - SL)
Button sees end to waiting game

1343: "The second practice session may be about to kick off, but it is unlikely to distract too much attention from what has become the main issue of the day, if not the entire weekend - the surprise decision to award the British Grand Prix to Donington Park from 2010. The paddock is ablaze with gossip. It's fair to say Bernie Ecclestone caught everyone off guard with that one."
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson at Silverstone

1330: Right, lest we forget, there's a mahoosive Grand Prix this weekend, so feel free to continue your Donington chat on 606, but I'm going to re-focus on this afternoon's action at Silverstone for the time being.

A few of you are asking if Massa will suffer a penalty if he has to change engines or a gearbox - no. Race engines, gearboxes etc are installed on Saturday mornings and only thereafter are penalties applied, so the Brazilian will be fine.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see what work has been done on that oil on the track... the drivers will have to be wary of that this afternoon.

"I know - how about a street circuit? I would love to see it at Milton Keynes - roundabout to roundabout to roundabout... then some roadworks... haha"
JonnyQPR on 606

"I work in Donington and this is one heck of a gamble. The town struggled to cope with the traffic for the Moto GP and the facilities trackside are pretty poor. There is going to have to be a massive investment over 2 years to get it up to F1 standard, let alone over 5 years. Good news for the Midlands though...!"
LeicesterTigerBenWL on 606

1238: In other news, a rather detailed scan through the photos filing through show a distinct lack of celebrity action at what we now know is the penultimate race at Silverstone in the coming years. I was expecting at least a B-list Eastender, or maybe even the Sugababes - who, frankly, get everywhere don't they? What is the world coming to? Anyone at Silverstone who can let me know any different?
British Grand Prix photos

1230: Well, that was an eventful morning huh? Spills, a crash, dominance from Ferrari and McLaren and then the announcement about Donington. Well, here's a bit more breaking news for you - although, perhaps not quite in league with the Donington/Silverstone stuff - apparently, the Australian Grand Prix will remain at Melbourne's Albert Park until at least 2015 after organisers agreed to push back the start time.

"It's a win for audiences in Europe and Asia, a win for Melbourne and for F1 as a whole," says Ecclestone.
Melbourne to keep GP until 2015

"Donington. The venue for the greatest first lap ever seen in F1. European GP 1993 by the late great Ayrton Senna!"
jollywhiteriot on 606

"DONNINGTON PARK!!!!???? There was a European GP held there in 93 but from what I can remember is was a bit on the tight side for F1 cars. I guess a huge amount of improvements will have to be made."
SportsAddict2000 on 606

"I just hope they don't muck about with the characteristics of Donington too much in getting it ready for F1 - I suspect the biker boys will not recognise it by 2010."
Lowland Hammer on 606
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"Fantastic - Donington is a superb circuit for Formula One. For lesser races it's a bit too big, but for anything like F1 speed it's superb. I was there at the old hairpin watching Senna drive his way round the outside of everyone - let's hope Lewis can do the same!"
lordnozom on 606

"One good thing, we still have a British GP and its thanks to the BBC's new deal."
WebbyFoxes on 606
Formula One to return to BBC TV

"Donington Park - What? That's a crazy decision. The F1 calendar will just not be the same without Silverstone."
Trueredfan on 606

1157: A rather amusing exchange between BBC Radio 5 Live's Holly Samos and Bernie Ecclestone sent in from our man Andrew Benson at Silverstone...
Holly: "There has been an announcement that the British Grand Prix is moving to Donington."
Ecclestone: "Has there?"
Holly: "Yes, in the media centre. What do you think?"
Ecclestone: "The media centre's a good place to make an announcement."

"Well done Donington! Its about time some of our national events started heading north."
Dave in Darlo via text

"Donington Park is a wicked track - it's got harder and tighter corners, so will prove tricky with no traction control! Bring it on - can't wait!"
Andypandy, Worcester via text

1152: As a few of you have pointed out on 606 - Donington Park will need a huge overhaul to come up to F1's standards. The track will need lengthening, and while Silverstone's facilities have been consistently criticised by Ecclestone, Donington's are currently nowhere near the standard of those at the Northamptonshire track. Many more millions will need to be spent at Donington.

However, the track is well served by transport links - it is next to East Midlands airport, and about two miles from the M1 motorway - which will be seen as a plus by many who have struggled with the Silverstone traffic on a race weekend you would think.
Join the debate on 606

1145: "This is massive, massive news for F1. Silverstone - which has been a fixture in the World Championship calendar since its inception, will no longer host the British Grand Prix once its contract expires next year, with Donington taking over.

"Donington has hosted an F1 race before - Ayrton Senna won there in the wet in 1993 - but it is a huge blow for Silverstone and the BRDC, who own the race. The BRDC have long been in conflict with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone about costs and money and, from what I understand, a contract has been waiting to be signed at Donington since January. It's bad news for the BRDC, but good news at least for British fans who will still have a Grand Prix on the calendar."
David Croft on BBC Radio 5 Live

"What - Donington Park!! They are going to have to get the diggers out there today then to get that place up to scratch. It will be good for me though as it is only 10 mins up the road!!"
homercles on 606
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The FIA have announced that the British Grand Prix is to be staged at Donington Park from 2010.

British GP will move to Donington

"Re the Batmobile comment earlier - I remember they did a lap in the car from one of the earlier movies complete with exhaust flames and everything. Even better was another year when MP Ken Clarke got a high speed ride in a Renault Espace F1!"
twheatley on 606
(Now that's rock and roll hey twheatley?! - SL)

1132: Massa hangs on to his top time by the skin of his teeth after an impressive final lap from Kovalainen is ruined somewhat by the Finn going wide at the final turn. Hamilton finishes the session third after six laps, with Raikkonen-Kubica-Alonso behind him. David Coulthard finished the session in ninth, Jenson Button 16th and Rubens Barrichello in last after completing just four laps. Nico Rosberg, with 27, completed the most laps but he is still struggling for pace...

1127: Only a few minutes to go and it's Massa-Kovalainen-Hamilton-Raikkonen-Kubica-Alonso in the charts as we stand.

1118: Giancarlo Fishicella is again one of the first back on the track following those couple of incidents - surprisingly, as is Kimi Raikkonen, who has decided to have a run despite whatever problems it may cause his tyres.

"I can see Silverstone losing the Grand Prix for that incident. They should have brought out the red flag after Alonso leaked oil over one of the fastest corners in motor sport, or at very least the marshals should have waved the oil flags. Massa is very lucky to have gone in at an angle and not head first."
mysteriousblablabla on 606
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1114: "The wind's quite calm so, relative to testing, the driving's quite good - although obviously the oil is going to mess things up a bit. Our high speed performance is pretty good, it's at the low end we need to step up.

"On a personal note, I'm aware following my retirement announcement that there's a certain countdown to Brazil for me, but I always love race weekends and it has not affected my preparations ahead of what I hope will be a real fun Grand Prix here."
Red Bull's David Coulthard on BBC Radio 5 Live sports extra

1109: The only activity out on track now is a group of stewards frantically covering the track by Copse with cement dust in an attempt to dry out that oil. I can't tell you what's happening in the pits, but I would wager Fernando and Felipe are a little less happy than, say, Lewis and Heikki, who were looking pretty good on their flying laps before that red flag.

"Massa has totalled the rear of his Ferrari so I wouldn't be surprised if they need a new engine and chassis - hell basically a new car even!"
SportsAddict2000 on 606
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1103: "Not the best of starts for either Fernando or Felipe there - oh dear. By the way, Fionavroom (see below), I have seen David Coulthard in his kilt a number of times, and he looks, well, like David Coulthard in a kilt. In case you're interested, he tells me that he follows the traditions of a true Scotsman when it comes to associated clothing."
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson at Silverstone

1058: It's all happening now - Felipe Massa crashes into the tyre barrier at Stowe - possibly because of Alonso's oil on the track - rear first. He walks free but it's a red flag to the session. The Brazilian's Ferrari looks a mess.

1056: Fernando Alonso pulls over just past Copse - sounds like engine failure, though Anthony Davidson is speculating it could be a gearbox problem. That's his session done you would think - big blow.

"My tribute to David Coulthard: I really fancy him, he looks like superman and he is Scottish! I wonder what he looks like with the kilt..."
Fionavroom on 606

1054: Felipe Massa - many people's tip for victory this weekend - clocks 1:19.575 on his third flying lap, which is fastest overall. Heikki Kovalainen is second in the charts ahead of Lewis and Kimi as it stands. The other Brits - David Coulthard and Jenson Button - are ninth and 16th respectively, while BMW are yet to make any waves with Robert Kubica in seventh.

1049: "If it's dry this weekend, Kimi Raikkonen will win. If it's wet, Lewis Hamilton will win. Simple."
Maurice Hamilton on BBC Radio Five Live Xtra

1048: "David Coulthard might be retiring at the end of the season, but there is no sign of any lack of effort on the track. The Scot has just had a massive tankslapping moment through Woodcote after dropping a rear wheel on to the grass."
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson at Silverstone

"Ah a great day in the British sporting calendar. I'm gunning for a Hamilton win - the recent Silverstone tests point to a McLaren team on the up."
aholt47 on 606
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Brits Up
1044: Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen are putting their McLarens through their paces now, the Finn grabbing a fastest lap so far of 1:19.919 and Hamilton fastest overall out of anyone with 1:19.916. Meanwhile, apparently Toyota have teamed up with upcoming motion picture "Batman: The Dark Knight" this weekend and the actual, real live Batmobile raced round the track last night. How cool is that! Or am I just exposing just how sad I really am?!

1038: "Lowland Hammer (see below) - it's a question of who blinks first. The teams wait and wait until someone finally decides they've had enough and need to get started - in this case it was Williams and Toyota who bit the bullet. And sure enough, now Kimi Raikkonen is out on the track in his Ferrari."
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson at Silverstone

1035: A superb final sector from Kimi Raikkonen as the Finn posts the fastest time of the day so far on his first flying lap, going round Silverstone in 1:21.089.

1032: Former Super Aguri driver Anthony Davidson is on Radio Five Live Xtra today, and he, unsurprisingly, says he is "desperate" for a drive next year. Would be nice to see him back on the track, he has to deserve another shot at a drive surely?

"This race will be won by a Ferrari, unless there is one monumental accident into the first corner - which never seems to happen anymore."
nick_converge on 606

"It will rain so Hamilton will have a chance against the Ferrari's. I predict a chaotic Grand Prix full of exciting incidents with a British winner (Lewis Hamilton of course). I hope DC gets a good run and finishes in the points and same for Button. Up the Brits!"
dizzyshrew on 606
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"Ok... so how does the track get cleaned if nobody wants to drive on it? (See below) Do they send a squad of Dysons out to clean it with special slicks on to get the bits they miss?"
Lowland Hammer on 606

1024: Germany's Sebastien Vettel - who claims track conditions are "very good, with nice grip" - makes the first proper run of the day in his Toro Rosso with a lap of 1:22.972.

1022: So, while we have a few minutes, a brief outline of a few of the main stories surrounding this weekend...
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David Coulthard announcing he will retire at the end of the current F1 season; Will - and should - Silverstone continue to host a Grand Prix past the end of its current deal which ends next year? Lewis Hamilton being crowned F1's "Ultimate Playboy" by Nuts magazine; and finally, Kimi Raikkonen telling 'Metro' he would love to play Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, adding "I would need to drink a lot of rum to get into the role" - rock and roll.

Let us know your thoughts and potentially get your name 'up in lights' on BBC Sport. It's something to tell the grandkids at least...
Coulthard announces F1 retirement
Does the British GP have a future?
Hamilton voted F1's top playboy of all time
Raikkonen in Metro

1011: "The drivers have now all been out on the track for what are known as installation laps. Unfortunately, you can expect a very quiet next half and hour or so. The teams - especially the big ones - do not like to go out when the track is dirty, as it effectively wastes a set of tyres, because any information they glean from running on it is irrelevant once some rubber goes down on the racing line."
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson at Silverstone

1000: First practice gets under way at Silverstone, with Robert Kubica, Nick Heidfeld and Giancarlo Fisichella among the first on the track.

0955: A little weather update for you - it's bright sunshine at Silverstone at the moment but any hopes of a dry weekend appear slim. Cloud cover will increase through the afternoon, with heavy and prolonged rain forecast throughout the weekend.

How might that affect the teams' final preparations? Would that give Jenson Button a realistic chance of victory on his home track? I'd wager he and the Honda team are performing a rather awkward, yet attractive, rain dance trackside right now...
Button sees end to waiting game

0948: "The weekend has not got off to a great start for Lewis Hamilton. He has managed to stick his foot in his mouth again with the media over what may yet become known as triathlon-gate, with which the tabloids have had great fun this morning.

"In a nutshell, Hamilton claimed he was fitter than Jenson Button, who then challenged him to a charity challenge in a triathlon to prove it, to which Hamilton agreed, only for his dad to intervene and put out a news release saying Lewis needed to concentrate on the championship (aaaannnddd breathe...).
Hamilton pulled from charity race

"But, personally, this has got to be the best first morning I've had at a British Grand Prix in 15 years. The weather was beautiful on the way up and I cleared accreditation in about two minutes, without the usual half-hour argument over getting a car-park pass. The first two people I saw in the paddock were old friends, one of whom took me into Ferrari for a rocket-fuel espresso to knock the final edges off early-morning lethargy. Even a momentary computer crisis couldn't shake my good mood."
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson at Silverstone

0945: Morning people! I hope you're over the loss of Andy Murray from the Wimbledon Championships because right here, right now, it's all about the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

It's a crucial 9th weekend of F1 action and it's still all to play for with Ferrari, McLaren and BMW leading the way this campaign.

For the weekend's action, we have our F1 guru Andrew Benson trackside, we have David Croft and Maurice Hamilton on Radio Five Live Xtra, we have my good self pulling it all together and providing my own unique/alternate take on things, and I want you to get involved as much as possible via 606 or text on 81111.
Join the debate on 606

Frankly, you can talk about anything you want today. The teams'/drivers' performance in practice, your tributes to the retiring David Coulthard, which fair-weather celebrity fans will be hanging out at Silverstone hoping for a red-top photo opportunity... go for it.

First practice kicks off at 1000 - who's backing Briton Lewis Hamilton to put the setbacks of his last two outings at Canada and France behind him to impress this weekend?

see also
British GP will move to Donington
04 Jul 08 |  Formula One

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