Nico Rosberg led a Mercedes AMG PETRONAS 1-2 in first practice at Spa-Francorchamps despite an early scare when the German driver appeared to lose power heading into Blanchimont and cruised back to the pits.
Rosberg was able to resume running later in the session, and set a best time of 1m51.082s, 0.242s clear of team-mate and current championship leader Lewis Hamilton.
Daniel Ricciardo was an impressive third for the Renault-powered Infiniti Red Bull Racing team, ahead of Spa specialist Kimi Raikkonen, a four-time winner at the circuit, and the Finn’s Scuderia Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel, while the second Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat was sixth.
Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr were seventh and eighth respectively for Scuderia Toro Rosso, with Sergio Perez ninth for Sahara Force India and Valtteri Bottas tenth in the leading Williams Martini Racing entry.
Pastor Maldonado was eleventh for the Lotus F1 Team, but ended his session in the turn seven barriers after spinning across the circuit. The session was red-flagged for around ten minutes to allow the recovery of his car and to mend the damaged tyre barriers.
Nico Hulkenberg was twelfth in the second Force India ahead of the leading Sauber of Felipe Nasr, while Felipe Massa in the second Williams was fourteenth ahead of the second Sauber of Marcus Ericsson.
The two McLaren-Honda drivers were sixteenth and eighteenth respectively, with Fernando Alonso ahead of Jenson Button, with the only test driver of the session, Jolyon Palmer, in between them for Lotus. Palmer was once again taking the seat usually occupied by Romain Grosjean.
As usual, the two Manor F1 Team drivers brought up the rear, with Will Stevens half a second faster than team-mate Roberto Merhi.
Spa-Francorchamps Free Practice 1 Times
|3||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull-Renault||1m51.373s|
|6||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Red Bull-Renault||1m51.960s|
|7||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Toro Rosso-Renault||1m52.158s|
|8||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||Toro Rosso-Renault||1m52.421s|
|9||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Force India-Mercedes||1m52.423s|
|12||27||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Force India-Mercedes||1m52.614s|