Red Bulls dominate FP2
Max Verstappen and Daniel Riccardo led Free Practice 2 in Belgium today with the benefit of Super Soft tires while Mercedes concentrated on longer runs with harder tires. Regardless of leading the closest Force India by over half of a second, Daniel Ricciardo believes they still have some unleashed speed in the car.
“I think we can still be quicker than what we showed today, but I feel like we definitely got into the right rhythm.” – Daniel Ricciardo
Hulkenberg and Perez show strong pace with 3rd and 5th best times
Force India has a history of being surprisingly quick at Spa and they continued that tradition today. Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg led Sebastian Vettel by .366 seconds with Sergio Perez only trailing Vettel by only .077 seconds. Could we see another Force India spoiler in Qualifying?
“I wasn’t too happy with the balance in the morning, but we were able to improve it for the afternoon: it’s still not perfect, so there’s a bit of work to do overnight, trying to use the information we got today, but it’s a decent starting point.” – Nico Hulkenberg
Hamilton takes an entirely new engine, drops 30 grid spots
As expected, Mercedes bit the bullet and replaced the entire engine on Lewis Hamilton’s car. With these upgrades he’ll be penalized a whopping 30 grid positions (there are only 22 cars on the grid). If these grid penalties aren’t getting ridiculous for all of us yet, I don’t know when they will.
Lewis focused primarily on long race practice today given that he will certainly be starting from the back of the grid.
Rosberg tests Halo in FP1 – Ugly is fast
Nico Rosberg not only set the fastest times in FP1, he also tested the Halo protection system in this Mercedes. Nico loved it as he was able to set the fastest time of the Free Practice 1 session with it fitted.
“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” – Nico Rosberg
Alonso sites out FP1 and will incur another mind-boggling grid penalty
And….. The McLaren Honda of Fernando Alonso is once again hit with an egregious grid penalty of 15 places. For a team that is doing everything it can to break the monotony of Mercedes domination, Formula One is certainly not helping with these penalties. Fernando is looking at the bright side however, as his former teammate Lewis Hamilton will likely be next to him in a faster car at the back of the grid.
“We’ll be starting Sunday’s race from the back of the grid, but we’ll be trying our best to recover positions from there. I expect Lewis [Hamilton], who’ll be starting next to me, will be quicker than me, so I’ll try to hang on to his tail, put a rope around his car and get him to pull me through the field! ” – Fernando Alonso