Rosberg comfortably ahead in first Belgian practice

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Belgium, Circuit de Spa-Francorchampsbe

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.


16Nico RosbergMercedes1:48.348-27
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:49.078+0.730s25
37Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:49.147+0.799s24
411Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes1:49.274+0.926s23
55Sebastian VettelFerrari1:49.768+1.420s19
63Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing Tag Heuer1:49.782+1.434s24
733Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Tag Heuer1:49.865+1.517s24
827Nico HulkenbergForce India Mercedes1:50.088+1.740s21
977Valtteri BottasWilliams Mercedes1:50.394+2.046s31
1021Esteban GutierrezHaas Ferrari1:50.583+2.235s21
118Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:50.899+2.551s18
1219Felipe MassaWilliams Mercedes1:51.122+2.774s28
139Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari1:51.125+2.777s16
1455Carlos SainzToro Rosso Ferrari1:51.424+3.076s17
1512Felipe NasrSauber Ferrari1:51.768+3.420s19
1631Esteban OconMrt Mercedes1:51.787+3.439s26
1726Daniil KvyatToro Rosso Ferrari1:52.308+3.960s19
1822Jenson ButtonMclaren Honda1:52.407+4.059s18
1994Pascal WehrleinMrt Mercedes1:52.837+4.489s23
2020Kevin MagnussenRenault1:53.053+4.705s20
2130Jolyon PalmerRenault1:53.089+4.741s20
2214Fernando AlonsoMclaren Honda--3