Nico Rosberg has made the best possible start to the second half of the F1 season by finishing fastest in the first practice session for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.
The German driver posted a fastest lap time of 1:51.577 to finish less than one-tenth of a second clear of Mercedes teammate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton, with the early signs suggesting that little has changed over the summer break to end the team’s dominant streak.
The session took place in cool and dry conditions at Spa on Friday morning, as the drivers got their first opportunity to try out the 2014-spec cars at one of the sport’s most famous circuits.
Although they were still able to take Eau Rouge flat, a number of the drivers did come unstuck at other sections of the track. Marcus Ericsson spun his Caterham at turn one, whilst Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel also hit trouble on their cars, with the latter being forced to miss the final part of the session.
F1 rookie Andre Lotterer put in a solid display in his first outing in an F1 car since 2002, finishing one-tenth of a second ahead of full-time driver Ericsson. Alexander Rossi finished ahead of both Caterhams in 20th position, but will now hand the reins back over to Max Chilton for second practice later today.
Alonso finished as the best of the rest behind the Mercedes cars, some two-tenths down on Rosberg’s time for P1. Jenson Button was fourth, a further six-tenths back, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez. Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg came home in seventh and eighth place respectively, whilst Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top ten.
Join us for FP2 live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET today. This will be followed by F1 Extra at 9.30am and then the premiere of Off The Grid: Budapest at 10am.