Rosberg quickest despite spectacular tyre failure

Speedcafe.com

Saturday 22nd August, 2015 - 12:23am

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Nico Rosberg was lucky to avoid the barriers when his right rear tyre suffered a blowout

Nico Rosberg was lucky to avoid the barriers when his right rear tyre suffered a blowout

Nico Rosberg topped the times in Friday practice for the Belgian Grand Prix despite suffering a spectacular tyre failure which ended his day prematurely.

The Mercedes driver proved to be the man to beat at the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit as he headed the field in both 90 minute practice sessions.

Rosberg’s 1:49.385s soft tyre effort eclipsed his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.302s, with Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo the best of the rest in third, four tenths further back.

Although comfortably quickest, Rosberg was lucky to escape a frightening tyre blowout with 25 minutes remaining in Practice 2.

His right rear tyre exploded coming through the high speed Blanchimont corner with the German lucky to avoid the barriers before coming to a halt on the track.

The incident red flagged the session with Rosberg unable to continue.

“We don’t know yet (what happened) it would make no sense to speculate,” said Rosberg.

“It was quite a shock I didn’t expect it.

“Unfortunately it was not down to my skill but luck that I stayed away from the wall.

“It was a bit of a dent to the confidence such an incident like today.”

It proved to be a strong day for Red Bull Racing with Daniil Kvyat backing up Ricciardo’s pace with the fourth fastest time, albeit a second adrift of Rosberg.

Fresh from signing a new contract with Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen was fifth fastest ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.

Romain Grosjean was seventh quickest although his Lotus came to a halt at the end of the session with a suspected electrical issue.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson endured a day of mixed fortunes with the Swede posting a time good enough for eighth, before a high speed crash at Pouhon brought out the red flags for a second time in Practice 2.

Team-mate Felipe Nasr and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top 10, while Williams struggled for pace with Valtteri Bottas 14th and Felipe Massa in 16th position.

The McLarens of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, running upgraded Honda power units, were 17th and 18th respectively.

Result: Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix Practice 2, Spa-Francorchamps

Position Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:49.385s 19
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:49.687s +0.302s 23
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1:50.136s +0.751s 15
4 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1:50.399s +1.014s 18
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:50.461s +1.076s 23
6 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1:50.461s +1.076s 21
7 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes 1:50.489s +1.104s 21
8 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1:50.709s +1.324s 18
9 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1:50.928s +1.543s 24
10 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:50.940s +1.555s 23
11 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1:50.971s +1.586s 21
12 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault 1:51.037s +1.652s 24
13 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1:51.117s +1.732s 25
14 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1:51.250s +1.865s 25
15 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1:51.317s +1.932s 16
16 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1:51.588s +2.203s 26
17 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1:51.854s +2.469s 16
18 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1:52.570s +3.185s 14
19 Will Stevens Marussia/Ferrari 1:54.065s +4.680s 17
20 Roberto Merhi Marussia/Ferrari 1:54.253s 4.868s 14

Result: Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix Practice 1, Spa-Francorchamps

Position Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:51.082s 19
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:51.324s +0.242s 24
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1:51.373s +0.291s 18
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:51.478s +0.396s 23
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:51.866s +0.784s 21
6 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1:51.960s +0.878s 18
7 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1:52.158s +1.076s 27
8 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault 1:52.421s +1.339s 26
9 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1:52.423s +1.341s 20
10 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1:52.511s +1.429s 19
11 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1:52.539s +1.457s 15
12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1:52.614s +1.532s 20
13 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1:52.640s +1.558s 16
14 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1:52.653s +1.571s 22
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1:53.426s +2.344s 16
16 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1:53.502s +2.420s 15
17 Jolyon Palmer Lotus/Mercedes 1:53.799s +2.717s 23
18 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1:54.225s +3.143s 14
19 Will Stevens Marussia/Ferrari 1:55.501s +4.419s 16
20 Roberto Merhi Marussia/Ferrari 1:56.086s 5.004s 17

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