The Mercedes GP Petronas drivers completed a total of 74 laps across the practice sessions today with Michael Schumacher displaying a golden spec version of his helmet to celebrate his 20th year in F1, unfortunately now easily mistaken for that of Nico Rosberg.
Rosberg, like his fellow drivers again said that the changing weather conditions made it hard for teams to achieve all that they had planned following the summer break. “We still managed to have two good practice sessions. We learned a few things in both the dry and the wet, and managed to do some tests for both the race and qualifying, so I’m quite positive ahead of tomorrow.” Rosberg who has done well out qualifying his teammate so far this year.
The man of the moment celebrating a great weekend which he began by setting the fastest FP1 time is eight times world champion Michael Schumacher. Schumacher in his usual manner went against the grain and chose to comment on how Spa has changed as a circuit. “It was a special feeling to be out on track today for the first practice sessions of this anniversary weekend in Spa. A lot of things have changed here in the past twenty years, but the weather certainly hasn’t! The conditions meant that we couldn’t do much work on the set-up, although we made the most of the limited time when the circuit was dry. Even so, it will be tricky to find the right set-up compromise for Sunday, because the weather here is always so unpredictable.”
Team Principal Ross Brawn praised the team in their efforts during the hard sessions “the team did a good and comprehensive job. We managed to run well in the limited dry windows and learned a lot about the balance of the car in dry conditions. The challenge for Sunday will be whether to favour a wet or dry set-up, so we will need to see how the weather develops tomorrow. We will then focus on what we expect to experience in the race, rather than the qualifying conditions. This is a track which responds very strongly to high down force in the wet but it can be quite a disadvantage in the dry. Overall, today has seen a good day’s work with the cars functioning well.”
President of Mercedes GP Norbert Haug suggests that Mercedes may not be in too much trouble going into qualifying as the pair managed to get a fair amount of running out of the sessions yet the weather will play a huge part in their decisions. “Nico and Michael did quite a lot of laps and our basis for the weekend on this unique and challenging circuit seems not too bad. The forecast predicts rain for tomorrow, so we need to be prepared for a very challenging qualifying session and we want to make sure we get the best possible results out of it.”