Lewis Hamilton gave the fans who had braved horrendous weather conditions to make it to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix reason to cheer after setting the pace in the second free practice session on Friday.

Further heavy rain and a limited number of wet and intermediate tyres meant the opening half of the session was a virtual wash-out, with only limited laps before drivers headed out in the second half of running to actually set a time.

Kamui Kobayashi, who emerged as the busiest man in the session with 15 laps, was the early pace-setter before being knocked back to second place by the McLaren of Hamilton, with the Briton staying out front to the finish - his advantage being a tenth of a second when the chequered flag dropped.

Mercedes pair Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg were third and fourth and just two-tenths of a second off the pace, while Sergio Perez and Jenson Button completed the top six.

Perez was amongst those driver to hit trouble in the session with a spin, although the Mexican was at least able to keep his car out of the barriers - unlike Bruno Senna or Fernando Alonso.

Senna got caught out on the exit of the Becketts complez and hit the barriers hard at the top of the Hangar Straight, bringing out the red flag for around ten minutes with a half an hour of the session to run while his damaged car was removed from the side of the circuit.

Alonso meanwhile was caught out at Stowe on his final lap of the session when he suffered a spin while on intermediate tyres and went nose first into the barriers - damaging the wing in the process.

Romain Grosjean, Daniel Ricciardo, Mark Webber and Pedro de la Rosa all elected not to set a time.