GP Belgio, prove libere venerdì–26/08/2016
Belgian GP: Max Verstappen leads Red Bull one-two in practice
Max Verstappen spearheaded a Red Bull one-two at the end of second practice for the Belgian Grand Prix as Formula 1 returned from its summer break.
It appeared to be a case of normal service in the Mercedes-led first practice at Spa-Francorchamps.
But come the second session, and following an early blast on the super-soft tyres, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton embarked on differing run plans, leaving the Red Bull team-mates to take over at the top of the timesheet.
For only the second time in the last 17 practice sessions a Mercedes driver was not out in front as Verstappen posted a lap of 1m48.085s to finish a quarter of a second up on Daniel Ricciardo, and 0.263s ahead of Rosberg’s best from the morning.
Verstappen later complained on a couple of occasions about a loss of power, with the team unable to find a fix.
Rosberg, who trails Hamilton in the championship standings by 19 points, predominantly used the soft tyre in second practice and finished down in sixth place, just over a second behind Verstappen.
Hamilton began the session with a second fresh power unit for this weekend and so far faces a 30-place grid penalty as he builds up a pool of systems to see him through the season.
The three-time champion, who will start the race at the back of the field, embarked on a long run on the medium tyres after an early soft stint that had netted him 13th place, 1.697s off the pace.
Behind the frontrunning Red Bulls, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was third best, almost six tenths of a second down, followed by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, with the four-time champion 0.938s adrift.
Vettel endured a scruffy session early on, encountering backmarkers to whom he either gesticulated or made comment over the radio, even when they did not appear to be at fault.
Force India continued to fare well, with Sergio Perez fifth fastest, narrowly ahead of Rosberg, and Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari in close attendance in seventh.
The Haas pair of Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez enjoyed a strong run, finishing eighth and 10th, sandwiching McLaren’s Jenson Button.
Grosjean and Button ended with identical times of 1m49.419s, but with the Frenchman ahead in the standings as his lap was posted first.
Fernando Alonso was at least in the action after managing just three installation laps in practice one due to a water leak from his new Honda engine.
Fitting a new system in the break meant taking the sixth element of each of the six power unit components, so Alonso will join Hamilton on the back row as he faces a 35-place grid penalty.
Alonso totalled 30 laps in the second session, and was 12th quickest behind the Manor of Pascal Wehrlein, whose new team-mate in Esteban Ocon was nine tenths of a second down in 21st.
One place ahead of Ocon was Renault’s Jolyon Palmer. His session appeared to be over early on when he ground to a halt, but he was able to restart the car via the MGU-K.
PRACTICE TWO TIMES:
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m48.085s||–||27|
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m48.341s||0.256s||27|
|3||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m48.657s||0.572s||30|
|5||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m49.100s||1.015s||27|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m49.916s||1.831s||25|
|18||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m50.194s||2.109s||25|
Belgian GP: Mercedes’ Rosberg fastest in FP1 with halo fitted
Nico Rosberg set the pace in first practice for the Belgian Grand Prix, with Formula 1’s halo cockpit protection device fitted.
The Mercedes driver clocked a 1m48.348s on the super-soft tyres while evaluating the halo, to finish 0.730s clear of team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who was on the same tyres.
Reigning world champion Hamilton was running a fresh power unit, which featured the use of a sixth MGU-H and turbo that currently results in a 15-place grid penalty at Spa.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, on the soft rubber, was Mercedes’s closest rival, 0.799s off the pace with Sergio Perez just over a tenth further back for Force India.
Three teams – Mercedes, Force India and Toro Rosso – ran the halo for the first time when they bolted the device onto Rosberg, Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr’s cars respectively.
Red Bull fitted it for the second time, after Pierre Gasly tested it in the Silverstone test, with Daniel Ricciardo carrying out the testing duties and completing a single installation lap with the device.
Rosberg kept the halo on for two runs before removing it and switching his attention to the team’s weekend programme.
Sebastian Vettel was fifth, 1.420s slower than Rosberg, ahead of Ricciardo, Max Verstappen and Hulkenberg.
Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Gutierrez completed the top 10.
Sauber appeared to have made a step forward with its new aero package, which features a new front wing, short nose, floor and front and rear brake ducts, with Marcus Ericsson 13th.
However, the Swede has taken a sixth turbocharger and will therefore take a 10-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.
Esteban Ocon outpaced team-mate Pascal Wehrlein by nearly a second on his Manor debut as he finished 16th quickest.
It was a disappointing morning for McLaren with Jenson Button 18th and Fernando Alonso failing to set a timed lap.
Alonso’s session ended early when Honda discovered a water leak on what was a new, upgraded power unit.
The Japanese manufacturer decided to swap out the whole unit to carry out an investigation into the problem, which it does not believe is a consequence of the update but rather an issue with a single part.
Several teams also tested a prototype tyre for Pirelli during the 90-minute session.
F1’s tyre supplier has developed a new construction it says is more resistant to impacts from kerbs and has given teams four sets of the rubber to try across FP1 and FP2.
FIRST PRACTICE RESULTS:
|4||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m49.274s||0.926s||23|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m49.782s||1.434s||24|
|7||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m49.865s||1.517s||24|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m50.088s||1.740s||21|
|14||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m51.424s||3.076s||17|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m52.308s||3.960s||19|