Silverstone: Nico Rosberg completed a clean sweep of Friday's practice sessions for this weekend's British Grand Prix, ending the opening day of running at the top of the timesheets in his Mercedes.
Nico Rosberg (inset) drives during the second practice session at the Silverstone circuit ahead of the British Grand Prix. Pics/AFP
Rosberg, who also topped the opening session of practice, set a time of one minute 34.155 seconds around a hot and sunny Silverstone circuit to end the day fastest ahead of the Ferrari pair of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.
Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, though less than a tenth off Rosberg's benchmark in the morning, could only manage fourth in the second session.
Rosberg arrives at Silverstone trailing Hamilton by 10 points in the overall standings after eight of the 19 races.
He heads into this weekend's race gunning for his fourth win from five races even as Hamilton hopes to end his resurgence by taking a third home victory in front of an expected record crowd of 140,000 fans.
But despite topping both sessions, it was a far from smooth day for Rosberg. The German was forced to sit out a large part of the opening 90-minute session with a hydraulics problem.
His team were also handed a reprimand after being investigated by the stewards for using covers to hide the car's bodywork after it was returned to the paddock.
Behind the top four, Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat ended the day an impressive fifth ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo. Max Verstappen carried his Toro Rosso team's strong showing in first practice through to the afternoon by ending the day seventh.
Nico Hulkenberg was eighth in the heavily upgraded B-spec Force India ahead of the second Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz.
Felipe Massa rounded out the top 10 for Williams, as the Grove-based squad, aiming for a hat-trick of podiums this weekend, concluded yesterday's running in a typically low-key manner.
Alonso, Button struggle
The struggling McLaren Honda pair of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button were 15th and 17th respectively after a difficult day.
They limited their running in the first session while both drivers struggled in the afternoon with Alonso running off the track and through the gravel and Button also complaining about the car's handling.