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Hamilton fastest in Friday practice at Spa
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Hamilton fastest in Friday practice at Spa
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Aug 2009   |  2:49 pm GMT  |  10 comments

Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in the second Friday practice session for Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Ham grid
The world champion was not expecting to be a front runner this weekend as the McLaren has had a weakness all season on high speed corners, of which there are several here.

Timo Glock was second, with Toyota looking more competitive than they have for a while, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Mark Webber. Romain Grosjean did a strong job to end the session fifth in the Renault.

Jaime Alguersuari, who set the 9th fastest time, pulled off the track in the closing stages of the session with a suspected engine and Kimi Raikkonen didn’t see the chequered flag either, stopping out on track in the closing stages.

The fastest times were set on the soft tyre, although several drivers reported that their car was a handful to drive on the softer tyre. This was certainly the case for Brawn. However the team’s greatest concern, which is warming up the tyres, did not appear to be such a problem, which bodes well for them this weekend.

The signs are that the Red Bull Technologies aerodynamics department has done a very good job on preparing the wings for this event, which requires a different aero package from recent races. Both the Red Bull cars and the Toro Ross cars look very quick in the all important middle sector.

Luca Badoer who is under pressure to keep his super-sub role at Ferrari ended the session in last place, two seconds slower than Raikkonen, of which one second was sector 2 alone.

The second session was entirely dry after a morning session which was mostly very wet. The forecasts indicate currently that no more rain is due this weekend.

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10 Comments
  1. Racing not politics says:

    what a mistake from Ferrari to allow Badoer another race!

    1. Simon Pearce says:

      Couldn’t agree more! Is there *really* no one else who can drive that car??

      Although as a McLaren fan I think Badoer is great ;)

  2. **Paul** says:

    Lewis didn’t look especially fast bar that lap at the end of the session (where he also made an error into the last corner). Low fuel and new rubber were probably why he headed the time sheets rather than outright pace. I expect to see RedBull doing very nicely tomorrow and I’m also thinking that Brawn cars were running with a reasonable slug of fuel given the their consistent, if unspectacular, pace.

  3. Jos The Boss says:

    I’d still put my money on a Red Bull 1-2 though, looked like Lewis was really having to toil away to put that lap in, and couldnt see his tyres holding up at that kind of pace on Sunday. No more excuses for Look-how-bad-you-are – neither Grosjean nor Alguesari had raced an F1 car at Spa before but both were excellent this afternoon whilst he floundered, his line comparisons looked like he was both braking earlier and applying the throttle later.

    1. Anthony says:

      Actually, Grosjean did in GP2. And I think Alguesuari did in another series

      1. Jos The Boss says:

        If you actually read my comment you’d see that I said ‘neither Grosjean nor Alguesari had raced an F1 car at Spa before’. You might want to read a bit more carefully next time before trying to be a smart-arse.

  4. Carl M says:

    Barrichello to win the grand prix!

  5. guy says:

    I noticed that “Look-how-bad-you-are” had a wheel fairing come off. Considering Renault were banned for releasing the car and having the wheel come off. Will the FIA finally ban these unsightly wheel fairings? They look like they were inspired by Kit the car from Knight Rider….. simply awful!

  6. Paige Michael-Shetley says:

    Actually, Lewis seemed pretty decently quick to me. Sure, that last lap was set on the options and on low fuel, but he stayed in the top-ten throughout the session while he was doing longer runs on primes.

    The interesting thing about his runs is that McLaren is running a bigger rear wing than you’d expect at Spa. Surely, this indicates that they’re still a bit behind on rear downforce, and running such a wing would be expected to slow the car down during the flat-out portions of the circuit where drag needs to be minimized. But Hamilton set his quickest sector times in Sector One- with the flat-out portion from La Source through Eau Rouge into Les Combes- and in Sector Three, with again a long flat-out portion ending with the Bus Stop. He (as well as Raikkonen in the Ferrari) was losing time in Sector Two, which features mainly medium-speed, 3rd to 5th gear corners where you would expect the extra downforce from the big rear wing to make a difference.

    Just giving it a glance, it looks to me like KERS is actually making a difference for both McLaren and Ferrari in the flat-out portions and holding it back with the weight distribution short-comings in sector two. This is the story of the year, but it’s a bit surprising that KERS is making this big of a difference considering what Whitmarsh and others have said that they would struggle with charging the battery due to the fact there are only really two hard-braking portions (La Source and Bus Stop).

  7. Animdo says:

    Great to see you doing a post practice report gives us a nice ‘feeler’ to the relative performance of the teams and drivers going into a race weekend.

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