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Belgian GP 2011

AUGUST 26, 2011

Practice 1 Report - Mercedes quickest in mixed Spa session

Michael Schumacher, Belgian GP 2011
© The Cahier Archive

The first session of free practice for the Belgian GP was rendered inconclusive as a form guide by mixed weather conditions typical of Spa.

For the record, the Mercedes pair of Michael Schumacher (1:54.355), wearing a new helmet livery, and Nico Rosberg (1:54.829) set the fastest times on dry tyres near the end of the session as the surface dried, more than 8s quicker than the fastest wet weather time set by Jenson Button's McLaren (2:02.740). Sebastian Vettel was just one hundredth of a second slower with the first Red Bull (2:02.752).

Button and Hamilton were experimenting with different rear wing configurations on the McLaren again as top speed and DRS is likely to prove crucial at a circuit on which DRS effect is expected to be the highest of the season. Gearing will be another important factor, with teams hoping that they are afforded some dry weather running ahead of qualifying and race.

Lewis Hamilton McLaren (2:04.301) was fifth fastest, ahead of Adrian Sutil's Force India (2:04.663), Felipe Massa's Ferrari (2:04.728), Rubens Barrichello's Williams (2:05.391), Jaime Alguersuari's Toro Rosso (2:06.583) and Kamui Kobayashi's Sauber (2:06.886).

The session was red-flagged for a brief period after two drivers spun off and hit the tyre wall at Turn 9. The first victim was Bruno Senna, getting his first weekend as replacement for Nick Heidfeld at Lotus Renault GP off to a bad start. Paul Di Resta then made a similar mistake and dropped his Force India while the circuit crane was still busy delivering the Renault back to the pits.

All indications are that weather conditions for the second session will be similar.