Mercedes Nico Rosberg and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took on practice session each in Friday’s practice sessions for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Hamilton & Alonso
Both Mercedes Lewis Hamilton and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso will start from the back as they have penalties for changing components on their power units. We know both drivers will start on the back row as it stands Alonso will start last but we are almost certain Hamilton will fit a new power unit overnight which means he will start last.
Also Marcus Ericsson has also been handed a back row start for the engine change so this could make the grid math difficult. I imagine it will be if they all have the same changes it would be Hamilton, Alonso, Ericsson (based on championship postion.) plus how many penalties they have
Like before the summer break we saw Ferrari behind Red Bull and they appear to still be behind in terms of pace. Red Bull leap frogged Ferrari in Germany and from what we saw in FP2 has some pace to challenge Mercedes. Max Verstappen will want to win if Rosberg has difficulties as it is near enough his home race.
He said “it has been a very positive Friday for us. We showed great pace today in comparison with other teams, though it’s hard to say what Mercedes is like. Of course I’m happy to be first in front of so many Dutch fans but it’s still not qualifying and not the race so let’s see.”
Verstappen will really want this win being born in Hasselt just over an hour away from the circuit. Also lots of fans from watching the practice sessions had banners for him.
Ferrari’s hopes of bouncing back following the summer break has not been shown on track. They were hoping that the could repass Red Bull on track this week going to Monza next week to motivate the team and the Tifosi.
Ferrari as I wrote last month ‘While mathematically possible I feel it’s unlikely with the brilliant Mercedes that they can win this seasons titles.
They won’t give up on 2016 until it’s mathematically impossible to win both titles as it there mandate to win the title for the greatest team in F1 history.’
Vettel said “Today it was a very tricky day. It is very hot for Spa, and so it’s very slippery out there. But I think in general, everybody was struggling to make the tyres last and sliding quite a lot.
“Also, I was struggling a bit with the balance of the car, but this is up to us. We need to improve the car. It is not yet where we want it to be. But I am sure we will be faster.”
Spa has always through-out the various different owners been a very good circuit for the Silverstone based team. They have a really strong car we saw in FP2 with Nico Hulkenberg being half a second faster than Vettel. Sergio Perez isn’t as confident saying he think they need better balance
He says “The first indications are positive, but there’s still a lot of work to be done on the car to solve a few little issues. We need to understand the car balance a bit more and develop our set-up from there.”
Three drivers Nico Rosberg, Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz tested the halo head device during FP1. Rosberg was running it when he set his fastest lap on track.
The sport has delayed plans to introduce the cockpit protection for next season, the FIA still want the Halo to be brought in for 2018.
Rosberg told Sky Sports “The team have done a great job on the Halo. It doesn’t disturb me when driving. I could go fast straight away and even set the best time of the session with it this morning, so I think that was a success.”
The fight for pole will be between the Mercedes and Red Bull. I expect Hamilton to run through-out the session and as ever he will need to set a time within 107% to qualify. Whether he runs in the closing moments is another question.
The top three (without penalties) Rosberg, Hamilton, Verstappen