Mark Webber insisted that F1 teams had no option but to limit their running in Friday practice at Silverstone due to the wet weather expected to affect the whole British Grand Prix weekend.
Fans who had queued for hours to get into the circuit were faced with an empty circuit for a long spell at the start of FP2 as teams instead elected to sit in their garages rather than turn laps in the difficult wet conditions, with only limited wet and intermediate tyres available for the weekend.
Admitting that it was a difficult situation for the fans who wanted to see the cars on track, Webber said the teams had little option but to save tyres they might need for the weekend and praised those fans who had braved the conditions to see the action that did take place.
“It's a real shame for the fans today,” the Australian, who ended the day with the tenth quickest time, said. “All the drivers and everyone in the teams are thinking of them because it wasn't the best day for action, but obviously we have to have an eye on the tyres for the rest of the weekend. There's a good chance we might need them, so we had to be careful with how many laps we did.
“You've got to take your hat off to the spectators and the support that they showed in absolutely awful conditions. I just really hope that a lot of them are back tomorrow because we have no choice but to get on with it then!”
Team-mate Sebastian Vettel also said he felt sorry for the fans on a day where he felt the running completed hadn't been of much use to the team.
“If there's too much standing water on track we can't go out, as we aquaplane pretty quickly,” he said. “I think Senna went off and it shows how quickly it can happen. It's a real shame for the fans sitting in the grandstands waiting for the cars to come out. I feel for them.
“We got in a bit of running in the end, but for us it's not so useful, as you can't really try anything in these conditions. I think weather will be the most important factor in determining the rest of the weekend. Hopefully it gets a bit better tomorrow so we can get ready for qualifying."