At the height of his domination of F1, Michael Schumacher was known as the rain-meister: and at Silverstone on Saturday he underwent a quick refresher course and proved that it was still very much the case today, too.

"I'm pleased with today's result - after all, we're in the top three again," he said. "We were competitive on both the intermediate and wet tyres, so I would welcome more rain tomorrow. Third position is a good starting point for the race, I'm looking forward to it.

The session hadn't gone entirely to plan, with some very ragged laps at times as Schumacher pushed the Mercedes and himself to the very edge of their respective capabilities. A small technical problem also proved a distraction, he revealed.

"It didn't look so good before the break in Q2," he revealed. "My visor was completely misted up and that meant I had some excitement during that lap!"

Schumacher was also one of the few drivers to head out on full wet tyres at the start of Q3, only to have to urgently rethink that strategy as conditions changed sufficiently to tip the balance decisively in favour of those cars on intermediates. With only four minutes remaining, Schumacher had to adapt right away.

"Michael delivered a very good performance, especially in Q3 when he put in a time good enough for third place with his first lap on the intermediate tyres," said Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn.

If he'd had even more time on the inters then he might have been starting even higher up the grid, pointed out Mercedes motorsports boss Norbert Haug.

"It's fair to say that Michael had a chance of setting pole today, as his second and third sector times on his last flying lap proved," said Haug. "However in the closing stages he only had one lap on inters and, although he was seven-tenths slower in the first sector compared to the best split time, he was less than three-tenths down at the end of the lap.

"Starting from third is a good base for Michael and our team tomorrow," Haug added. "This is his second top-three qualifying result in four races, after finishing on the podium in third place under completely different conditions in Valencia."

Things weren't quite as bright for Schumacher's young team mate and compatriot Nico Rosberg, who lost time in the Saturday morning practice session with a fluid leak.

"I wasn't quick enough in general today," he admitted. "We need to understand why that happened as it's a bit surprising really as yesterday I was quicker in the same conditions. But I'm still confident for tomorrow and looking forward to the race as this year, it's possible to score good points even when you are starting from a long way back."

He finished in 13th place but will be boosted up two places because of penalties for other drivers, putting him just outside the top ten.

"I am sure that tomorrow's race, in changeable conditions, will be full of opportunities," said an optimistic Brawn. "The car seems to be performing reasonably well in the wet conditions and the balance seemed driveable."

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