Mercedes today once again were the class of the field in both practice sessions ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.
Mercedes today once again were the class of the field in both practice sessions ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa. Both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg topped the time sheets in both sessions as they look for pole position number eleven of the season.
Nico Rosberg led the field in the morning with the roles being reversed come the afternoon at a track that Mercedes looks all but certain to dominate as both drivers fight for the drivers’ title.
It was all change at Marussia as Alexander Rossi stepped into Max Chilton’s car for the weekend. Unfortunately for the American who had only joined last month the team announced that Chilton would be back in the car for FP2 and for the remainder of the weekend.
Whilst Rossi was in and then out at Marussia Caterham also made amendments to their line up this weekend. Kamui Kobayashi made way for three-time Le Mans winner Andre Lotterer on a one race deal. Whilst both new boys finished in the lower reaches of the time sheet it was Lotterer that starred after beating Marcus Ericsson in the Caterham.
Behind the two Mercedes cars it was Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari who was best of the rest, he was followed by the McLaren of Jenson Button and teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
For Sebastian Vettel it was a morning to forget as a burnt exhaust ended his running prematurely.
Practice 2 started with dark clouds looming over the circuit, thankfully for the drivers and fans the rain that threatened never arrived. Whilst today was dry qualifying tomorrow could be a wet one.
Two early red flags brought proceedings to a temporary halt. The first came after the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado suffered a wheel nut failure that put him into the wall. The second came when Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez had a high speed spin as a result of a gearbox failure, thankfully for the Mexican he did not make any contact with the wall and both drivers were fine after their incidents.
Sebastian Vettel’s already horrible day took a turn for the worst when the team found a loom wire problem, this prevented the defending world champion from leaving the garage and meant he had to sit out the afternoon session. Things only got worse for Red Bull as Daniel Ricciardo suffered with brake issues resulting in the Hungarian Grand Prix winner losing out on track time.
On the option tyre run it was Lewis Hamilton that made a real statement of intent by setting a time of 1:49.198, .604 of a second faster than teammate Nico Rosberg. The German made a number of small errors on his first timed lap, whilst the gap looks big to him teammate he will be closer come tomorrow morning.
Fernando Alonso was able to replicate his from the previous session and set a time good enough for third fastest. Behind the Ferrari it was the Williams of Felipe Massa followed by Jenson Button and Valtteri Bottas. Further down the field Daniil Kvyat set a time that was seventh fastest, some two tenths faster than Daniel Ricciardo.
It looks set to be yet another titanic scrap tomorrow for pole position between both Mercedes drivers just as it did it Hungary. Lewis Hamilton looks to have the edge over his closest rival Nico Rosberg.
As if that fight was not exciting enough the scrap between Ferrari, Williams and McLaren could go either way as they fight for a second row start for Sunday.
It is clear that whilst Mercedes are still the class of the field, the teams behind have all made massive improvements over the summer especially McLaren and Ferrari who seemed to have jumped Williams. It seems as if the only thing that could hinder Mercedes tomorrow is rain.
Who will it be on pole position for the first race back after the summer break? Leave your comments and predictions below.