On a day of consistent and torrential rain when few drivers did any serious running the 2008 champion Hamilton did his best for the spectators by steering his McLaren through the puddles and floods in spectacular style.
An 80,000 crowd was expected, but a combination of the weather, appalling road conditions and dire traffic management meant that fewer than that number made it through the gates to join those inside who were left drenched by the downpours.
“It is horrible,” said Australian Webber, who did not run in the afternoon session in his Red Bull car.
“They don’t always understand why we don’t run, especially when the conditions are going to be pretty similar over the weekend.
“Today though most of us had our hands tied with the weather. We would want to get the practice in to get on top of those conditions, but for us unfortunately there is no point being top of the pops today, doing loads of mileage, loads of wearing tyres out because we don’t get any points today.
Webber added: “Today we all feel, all the teams, drivers, engineers, mechanics, we all feel for the fans. It is cold and miserable, it is the middle of the summer.”
F1 British GP, Qualifying, Live on ESPN, 17:20