Lewis Hamilton produced a sensational run on the softer tyre to finish top of the timesheets on Friday afternoon at Spa-Francorchamps. The Briton was pipped by Nico Rosberg in the morning session but responded in the afternoon to lap six tenths quicker than his teammate as Mercedes enjoyed a comfortable advantage over the competition.
The afternoon began in dramatic fashion with Max Chilton reappearing in the second Marussia after solving contractual issues which had initially seen Alexander Rossi take over the seat. The American wasn’t the only driver watching from the sidelines though with Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull requiring a change of power unit, ruling the reigning champion out of FP2.
Pastor Maldonado had no such problems and was straight out on track for the second session of the day but his afternoon would end shortly after it had begun with the Venezuelan losing control on the exit of turn eleven before slamming into the barrier, coming to rest at Pouhon. With debris strewn across the track, the session was halted while the circuit was cleared but the resumption was all-too brief as Esteban Gutierrez spun to a halt at Blanchimont, bringing the red flags out once again.
After a messy opening thirty minutes, the option tyre runs commenced with Jenson Button setting the fastest first sector of all on the way to a 1:50.659, four tenths quicker than his teammate Kevin Magnussen, but the works Mercedes squad raised the bar when they switched to the softer rubber, Rosberg clocking a 1:49.793. Nico’s lap did include a slight mistake on the exit of Les Combes but even so, he had no answer for Hamilton’s best effort as the Briton set a 1:49.189 to end the day on top.
After keeping the Mercedes duo honest in FP1, Fernando Alonso continued to be the nearest challenger with a 1:49.930 good enough for third overall while Felipe Massa grabbed fourth for Williams, pushing Button’s McLaren down to fifth. Valtteri Bottas completed the top six ahead of Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo who over 1.5s off the pace in the quickest Renault-powered machines. Kevin Magnussen was relegated to ninth while Nico Hulkenberg ensured seven Mercedes-powered cars would make up the top ten after setting a 1:51.077 in his Force India.
|FORMULA SHELL BELGIAN GRAND PRIX – FRIDAY PRACTICE CLASSIFICATION|
|1||44. LEWIS HAMILTON||MERCEDES||SOFT||1:49.189||FP2|
|2||6. NICO ROSBERG||MERCEDES||SOFT||1:49.793||FP2|
|3||14. FERNANDO ALONSO||FERRARI||SOFT||1:49.930||FP2|
|4||19. FELIPE MASSA||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||SOFT||1:50.327||FP2|
|5||22. JENSON BUTTON||McLAREN MERCEDES||SOFT||1:50.659||FP2|
|6||77. VALTTERI BOTTAS||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||SOFT||1:50.677||FP2|
|7||26. DANIIL KVYAT||STR RENAULT||SOFT||1:50.725||FP2|
|8||3. DANIEL RICCIARDO||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||SOFT||1:50.977||FP2|
|9||20. KEVIN MAGNUSSEN||McLAREN MERCEDES||SOFT||1:51.074||FP2|
|10||27. NICO HULKENBERG||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||SOFT||1:51.077||FP2|
|11||25. JEAN-ERIC VERGNE||STR RENAULT||SOFT||1:51.383||FP2|
|12||99. ADRIAN SUTIL||SAUBER FERRARI||SOFT||1:51.450||FP2|
|13||11. SERGIO PEREZ||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||SOFT||1:51.573||FP2|
|14||8. ROMAIN GROSJEAN||LOTUS RENAULT||SOFT||1:52.196||FP2|
|15||7. KIMI RAIKKONEN||FERRARI||SOFT||1:52.234||FP2|
|16||17. JULES BIANCHI||MARUSSIA FERRARI||SOFT||1:52.776||FP2|
|17||1. SEBASTIAN VETTEL||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||MEDIUM||1:53.361||FP1|
|18||21. ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ||SAUBER FERRARI||MEDIUM||1:53.955||FP2|
|19||4. MAX CHILTON||MARUSSIA FERRARI||SOFT||1:54.040||FP2|
|20||9. MARCUS ERICSSON||CATERHAM RENAULT||SOFT||1:54.050||FP2|
|21||45. ANDRE LOTTERER||CATERHAM RENAULT||SOFT||1:54.093||FP2|
|22||36. GIEDO VAN DER GARDE||SAUBER FERRARI||MEDIUM||1:54.335||FP1|
|23||13. PASTOR MALDONADO||LOTUS RENAULT||MEDIUM||1:55.336||FP1|
|24||42. ALEXANDER ROSSI||MARUSSIA FERRARI||MEDIUM||1:57.232||FP1|