Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug is amongst those figures in the F1 paddock to have praised the British fans after a difficult start to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Heavy rain led to traffic chaos around the Northamptonshire circuit, while those fans were then forced to contend with more heavy downpours that restricted running on track in both practice sessions.

The poor weather is set to continue into the weekend, and Haug took time to praise the fans for battling the conditions to watch the limited action that did take place - comparing Friday to 'Silverstone in the good old days'.

"First of all I have to say that the heroes of today were the spectators," Haug said. "It was impressive to see them sitting out there in the pouring rain and lots of them cheering instead of letting the weather get them down. Especially because it was quite a challenge for everybody to reach the circuit after huge traffic jams this morning - this was like Silverstone in the good old days!

"On track, we did not see a lot of running in the wet conditions. Some aquaplaning accidents showed how treacherous the conditions were so it was a very good job from Michael and Nico to bring their cars back in one piece after the sessions. Performance-wise it is difficult to judge our level of competitiveness after barely 20 laps for both cars during the two sessions in changing conditions.

"Our lap times did not look too bad, so it was a positive result on a difficult Friday, which most likely will not be followed by better conditions tomorrow or on Sunday. But that's Silverstone, just the way we all know it."

Michael Schumacher was quicker of the two Mercedes drivers, setting the third quickest time after the two sessions, and the seven-time champion insisted there were still thing to be learnt from the Friday running despite the conditions.

"There are still things to be learned on days like these and the positive about today's rain was that it is also forecast for tomorrow and Sunday," he said. "This meant that we were able to use today to prepare for the race, primarily on the wet tyres. We also tried the intermediates briefly but they were no faster in these conditions. The rain was constant, which allowed us to at least complete some parts of our programme.

"There was a lot of standing water, but it was hard to spot from the cockpit, which meant that the drivers had to be very vigilant. Today's sessions went okay and, in any case, we know that at this circuit, with its particular characteristics, rain offers us good chances and opportunities."