GP Belgio, prove libere–21/08/2015
Belgian GP: Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg tops practice before tyre blows
Mercedes Formula 1 driver Nico Rosberg set the pace in second Belgian Grand Prix practice before a spectacular rear-tyre blowout at high-speed ended his session early.
Rosberg, who led the way in first practice, clocked a time of 1m49.687s, 0.302 seconds faster than Hamilton on the soft tyres with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo four tenths further back.
Rosberg set the early pace on the medium tyres and maintained that advantage when he bolted on the softs for his qualifying-simulation before turning his attention to long-run data gathering.
However, with a little under 30 minutes to go, Rosberg’s rear-tyre exploded, sending the German into a spin approaching Blanchimont. He managed to keep the car out of the tyre wall.
Replays seemed to suggest a blister eventually started to fray and eventually resulted in the tyre shredding off the wheel.
Rosberg climbed out of the car unscathed, but the red flag was brought out while marshals cleared away the stricken Mercedes.
The session restarted 10 minutes later, but the red flag was called into action again shortly after the restart when Marcus Ericsson ran wide on the exit of Pouhon, which snapped the car into oversteer and into the barrier.
"I’m OK," said Ericsson, who finished eighth fastest, on team radio. "I hit the wall hard, I’m sorry guys."
Unusually beautiful conditions continued at Spa for second practice, with the air and track temperature 23C and 39C respectively and only a breath of wind in the air.
Red Bull proved to be Mercedes’ closest challengers with Ricciardo third quickest, 0.751s off the pace, and team-mate Daniil Kvyat three tenths further adrift.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who traditionally runs well at Spa, was fifth quickest ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India.
After missing first practice as Jolyon Palmer was in the Lotus, Romain Grosjean was seventh ahead of the Sauber duo of Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, who are running the 2015-spec Ferrari engine for the first time this season.
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel completed the top 10, ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez.
Carlos Sainz Jr pipped Toro Rosso team-mate Max Verstappen to 12th.
Williams, which typically does not show its true pace on a Friday, finished down the pecking order with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa 14th and 16th respectively.
They were split by Pastor Maldonado, whose Lotus team did an impressive job to fix his car after his first practice crash and get him out for the final hour of the session.
McLaren’s Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, who will start from the back of the field on Sunday after taking big engine penalties, were 17th and 18th with the Manors propping up the timesheets.
PRACTICE TWO TIMES:
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m50.136s||0.751s||15|
|4||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m50.399s||1.014s||18|
|6||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m50.461s||1.076s||21|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m50.971s||1.586s||21|
|12||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m51.037s||1.652s||24|
|13||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m51.117s||1.732s||25|
Belgian GP: Nico Rosberg leads Lewis Hamilton in first Spa practice
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg set the fastest time in the opening Formula 1 practice session for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.
The German overcame early problems with his car to record the quickest lap ahead of his team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.242 seconds.
Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest in his Red Bull, ahead of the two Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.
Sixth at the end of the 90 minute morning session, held in dry, sunny conditions, was Danill Kvyat in the second Red Bull – just 0.878s behind first-placed Rosberg – and ahead of the two Toro Rosso machines of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr.
Sergio Perez was ninth in his Force India, while the two Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa ended practice one in 10th and 14th place respectively.
The session was red-flagged after 50 minutes when Pastor Maldonado spun exiting the right-hander at Turn 7.
He lost the rear of his Lotus at the right-hander coming out of Les Combes and crossed the circuit smashing the right-front off his car, thereby bringing the session to a halt for 10 minutes while the marshals repaired the tyre barriers.
He finished with the 11th-quickest time.
There was concern for world championship contender Rosberg at the beginning of the session, as he appeared to lose drive entering Blanchimont.
He retuned to the pits where his mechanics investigated the problem with the engine on his Mercedes and half an hour later he was back on track with the issues seemingly resolved.
Briton Jolyon Palmer was the only reserve driving running this morning and took over Romain Grosjean’s Lotus seat for the opening session, recording the 17th fastest time.
The two McLaren-Hondas of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button finished down the order in 16th and 18th.
PRACTICE ONE TIMES:
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m51.373s||0.291s||18|
|6||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m51.960s||0.878s||18|
|7||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m52.158s||1.076s||27|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m52.421s||1.339s||26|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m52.423s||1.341s||20|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m52.614s||1.532s||20|