The Friday free practice sessions at Spa were a washout today, with hardly any competitive laps turned in the afternoon session, as heavy rain lashed the circuit.
No-one ventured out on circuit for almost 45 minutes as winds of 7 metres per second brought curtains of rain down on the track.
There was also heavy rain in the morning, but most of the cars did get some laps in.
It was the fourth Grand Prix in succession where rain has thwarted the teams who always seek to learn as much as possible on Friday about new parts on their cars.
“With no in-season testing we use these Fridays for testing and it’s very difficult when it’s rained off,” said McLaren’s Paddy Lowe.
Hungary’s second session was hit by rain, while Silverstone and Germany were both washouts like today, making it three washouts in four races.
It is frustrating for the teams, many of whom opted not to mount new parts onto the cars for risk of damaging them in a wet session where they would learn little anyway.
Ferrari ran a new rear wing, McLaren two different rear wing configurations, with Jenson Button trying out a wing with a “Monkey seat” small wing mounted on the rear crash structure, to help the interaction between the diffuser and the main elements of the rear wing. McLaren also had a wraparound aerodynamic piece sitting above the air intake of the side pods, to help generate pressure into the diffuser to help with rear end downforce.
Lotus were unable to learn much about the performance of its double DRS device which it was hoping to sign off to use in qualifying and the race this weekend.
In the morning session, where more laps were turned, Kamui Kobayashi set the fastest time while Felipe Massa suffered an engine failure, on an engine which was close to the end of its life, having already been extensively raced earlier in the year.
BELGIAN GRAND PRIX, Spa Francorchamps, Free Practice 1
1. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 2m11.389s 20
2. Pastor Maldonado Williams 2m11.941s + 0.552s 14
3. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 2m12.004s + 0.615s 12
4. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 2m12.824s + 1.435s 15
5. Mark Webber Red Bull 2m13.191s + 1.802s 13
6. Sergio Perez Sauber 2m13.861s + 2.472s 16
7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 2m14.210s + 2.821s 14
8. Valtteri Bottas Williams 2m14.660s + 3.271s 16
9. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 2m14.860s + 3.471s 12
10. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 2m15.402s + 4.013s 13
11. Paul di Resta Force India 2m15.812s + 4.423s 11
12. Timo Glock Marussia 2m16.409s + 5.020s 16
13. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 2m16.786s + 5.397s 10
14. Vitaly Petrov Caterham 2m16.788s + 5.399s 16
15. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 2m16.827s + 5.438s 5
16. Jenson Button McLaren 2m16.861s + 5.472s 8
17. Charles Pic Marussia 2m17.519s + 6.130s 14
18. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 2m18.199s + 6.810s 10
19. Pedro de la Rosa HRT 2m19.546s + 8.157s 12
20. Dani Clos HRT 2m19.689s + 8.300s 12
21. Romain Grosjean Lotus 2m38.701s + 27.312s 9
22. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2m40.749s + 29.360s 4
23. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 2m46.580s + 35.191s 9
24. Felipe Massa Ferrari