Nico Rosberg was easily the fastest man in the morning practice on Friday at Spa-Francorchamps. The Mercedes driver was more than 7 tenths clear of his team mate while Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest, closely behind Hamilton.
In atypically hot Belgian weather, the session started off with more tests of the Halo head protection device, this time with Nico Rosberg trying it out while trying out a set of prototype Pirelli tyres, modified to be more resilient against cutting damage due to debris.
All cars were given two sets of the new compound, to be used during the Friday practice sessions. Pirelli aims to avoid a repetition of the problems seen during last year's Belgian Grand Prix, and teams will as such share all data that they have gathered while running with the unmarked testing tyres.
Mercedes also announced just ahead of the session that both its cars were fitted with new power units, which meant that for Lewis Hamilton, he had to take on a sixth turbo and sixth MGU-H, equaling a grid penalty of 15 positions. Nico Rosberg on the other hand took the fourth item of all power unit components, and is hence not taking any penalty.
At Sauber, Markus Ericsson will also take a 10-place grid penalty this weekend while taking on a new turbocharger on his Ferrari power unit. Other than this, Sauber did appear to have made progress with its new aero package as the Swede was 13th fastest and Nasr 15th fastest during this session.
For McLaren it was a lot more troublesome, as Jenson Button was only 18th fastest as he complained of vibrations while running in the 4 highest gears. Fernando Alonso didn't even come to that point, as he was stuck in the pits after just three laps when his upgraded Honda engine had to be removed from the car due to a water leak.
|1||6||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||1:48.348||-||27|
|2||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||1:49.078||+0.730s||25|
|4||11||Sergio Perez||Force India Mercedes||1:49.274||+0.926s||23|
|6||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer||1:49.782||+1.434s||24|
|7||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer||1:49.865||+1.517s||24|
|8||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India Mercedes||1:50.088||+1.740s||21|
|9||77||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Mercedes||1:50.394||+2.046s||31|
|10||21||Esteban Gutierrez||Haas Ferrari||1:50.583||+2.235s||21|
|11||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||1:50.899||+2.551s||18|
|12||19||Felipe Massa||Williams Mercedes||1:51.122||+2.774s||28|
|13||9||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber Ferrari||1:51.125||+2.777s||16|
|14||55||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso Ferrari||1:51.424||+3.076s||17|
|15||12||Felipe Nasr||Sauber Ferrari||1:51.768||+3.420s||19|
|16||31||Esteban Ocon||Mrt Mercedes||1:51.787||+3.439s||26|
|17||26||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso Ferrari||1:52.308||+3.960s||19|
|18||22||Jenson Button||Mclaren Honda||1:52.407||+4.059s||18|
|19||94||Pascal Wehrlein||Mrt Mercedes||1:52.837||+4.489s||23|
|22||14||Fernando Alonso||Mclaren Honda||-||-||3|