At long last, Formula One is back. OK, it’s only been four weeks since the Grand Prix of Hungary but it feels like longer. Hamilton is only 21 points ahead of his teammate in the current points standings, with Vettel almost the same distance behind Rosberg.
Spa Francorchamps is one of my favourite circuits, but apparently Belgian dairy farmers have blocked some roads near the circuit in protest at the price of milk!
Tyre choices this weekend: prime=medium (white) and option=soft (yellow).
Engine upgrades for the two McLarens mean ALO and BUT will start from the back of the grid; the revised rules mean they won’t have additional in-race penalties though. [BBC]
- FP1: ROS has an engine problem and missed the first half of the session; MAL spun off into the barrier, wrecking his Lotus and bringing out the red flags to suspend the session; ROS fastest (1:51.082) ahead of HAM, RIC, RAI & VET.
- FP2: ROS’ rear-right tyre failed at almost 200mph, causing him to spin but he avoided the barriers; session was red flagged to clear ROS’ car; ERI crashed at Pouhon, causing a second red flag; McLaren still off the pace; ROS fastest again (1:49.385) followed by HAM, RIC, KVY, RAI, HUL & GRO.
- FP3: some drivers running with both tyre compounds; GRO spins in the Bus Stop; problem with ALO’s power unit; GRO complained the RAI blocked his final lap; HAM fastest (1:48.984) then ROS, VET, RAI, PER, RIC, KVY, HUL & BOT.
Pirelli believe ROS’ tyre failure in FP2 was caused by a puncture.
Further changes to the McLarens’ engines have theoretically increased their combined penalties from 55 grid spots to 105 – it’s a good thing there’s only 20 cars on the grid! 🙂
GRO also has a 5 grid spot penalty for a gearbox change, and VES has 10 grid spot penalty for engine changes.
Air temperature 23°C; track 40°C
Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
BOT heads out of the pits on primes with MER on options
Expected cut off about 1:50.2
Radio for BOT reminding him about the track limits
BBC mention a couple of lap times under investigation (for exceeding track limits) but no official notification that I’ve seen
BUT can only manage P16, but then ALO goes P17
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are BUT, ALO, MER, STE, MAS* (*no time)
MAS finally sets a time – goes P10
1min left of Q1; bottom 5 are VES, BUT, ALO, MER, STE
Radio from VES – “there’s something wrong”
BUT to P16 but still not through to Q2
STE P19 ahead of his teammate
VES P13, relegating SAI
SAI P4 (yes, fourth) pushes BOT to P16
BOT P4, bumping NAS to P16
Back of the grid: NAS, BUT*, ALO*, STE, MER
*BUT & ALO will be P20 and P19 respectively after all their penalties are applied
Qualifying session 2 (Q2)
Radio for HAM – we don’t have telemetry at the moment
RAI parks his Ferrari at the edge of the track
Red flag as RAI is pushed behind the barrier
VES is out of his car as it’s pushed down the pit lane
6mins left of Q2; no time yet from VET, (RAI), GRO, KVY, MAL, RIC, VES & SAI
KVY running right on the edge of putting all four wheels off track
VET fully off track so that time shouldn’t count
Middle of the grid: HUL, KVY, ERI, RAI*, VES*
*no time from RAI or VES
*VES has a penalty to be applied
Qualifying session 3 (Q3)
Ferrari report RAI’s car had an oil pressure drop
6mins left; order is HAM, ROS, BOT, MAS, VET, MAL, GRO; no time from RIC, PER or SAI
2mins left – everyone heading out of the pits for a final flying lap
Front of the grid: HAM, ROS, BOT, GRO*, PER, RIC, MAS, MAL, VET, SAI
*GRO has a penalty to be applied
Provisional grid: HAM, ROS, BOT, GRO*, PER, RIC, MAS, MAL, VET, SAI, HUL, KVY, ERI, RAI, VES*, NAS, BUT*, ALO*, STE, MER
*GRO, VES, BUT & ALO have penalties to be applied
Depending on the cause of his oil pressure problem, RAI’s car may need changes which result in him being penalised too.