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Hamilton heads Rosberg in free practice as season resumes at Spa-Francorchamps
Posted By: Editor   |  22 Aug 2014   |  3:23 pm GMT  |  92 comments

Lewis Hamilton came out on top in his battle with Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg as the Formula One World Championship got back under way after the summer break with Friday practice for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps.

The Briton finished an impressive 0.604 seconds ahead of Rosberg, who made a couple of small mistakes on his option tyre run, in the afternoon session, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso also impressing with the third fastest time, a tenth of a second further back.

It reversed the positions of the first session, where Rosberg – who leads Hamilton by 11 points in the championship – finished fastest by just 0.097 seconds with Alonso again in third.

Hamilton had a big moment in the morning session, catching a slide at the high-speed Eau Rouge, but it was a smoother affair in the afternoon as he outpaced his team-mate in all three sectors, taking nearly half a second out of the German in the middle sector alone.

On the long runs in the later part of the session, Hamilton was again slightly faster, but not as consistent has his team mate. Nevertheless it looked as though Mercedes again has a healthy margin over the others in both qualifying and race conditions.

It was a disappointing day for reigning world champion and last year’s Spa winner Sebastian Vettel, who managed just 11 laps in the morning before missing the whole of the second session after the team were forced into changing the power unit following an electrical issue.

Pastor Maldonado didn’t have much time on track in the afternoon either, the Lotus driver causing one of two red flags in the afternoon when he crashed heavily, early in the session on the approach to Pouhon. The Venezuelan got his wheels on the grass, lost the rear end and flew across the track, hitting the barriers hard.

Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez was responsible for the second red flag, the Mexican spinning at Blanchimont and then stopping out on circuit, reporting a gearbox issue to his team before beginning the long walk back to the pits.

Alonso, who finished second last time out in Hungary, briefly stopped at Eau Rouge in the morning session because of a concern over his power unit but soon rejoined. He maintained his place as the third fastest driver behind the Mercedes across both sessions.

Williams’ Felipe Massa was fourth, ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button and the other Williams of Valtteri Bottas. Daniil Kvyat was seventh in the Toro Rosso, one place clear of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who completed his option tyre run later than the rest as he was delayed while his team tinkered with his Red Bull’s brakes.

McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg completed the top 10. Kimi Raikkonen had a disappointing day, spending a long time in the pits in the second session and ending up 15th, 2.3 seconds off his team-mate Alonso’s pace.

Andre Lotterer, stepping in for Kamui Kobayashi at Caterham this weekend, was impressive across both sessions, and ended the second just half a tenth behind team-mate and regular race driver Marcus Ericsson in 19th and 20th respectively. Caterham had some upgrades here, including a new nose.

“I got used to the car quite quickly and now I just need to optimise everything in terms of driving style,” said Lotterer. “Considering it was my first time out, it all went according to plan and I was able to get a good feel of what it’s like to drive the car.”

However, they couldn’t finish ahead of rivals Marussia, with Jules Bianchi 16th and Max Chilton, who claimed his seat back from Alexander Rossi after sitting on the sidelines in FP1 due to contractual reasons, ending up 18th.

The difference in performance and durability between the two type compounds looks like it will make for an interesting race strategically on Sunday. The soft is up to a second per lap faster in single lap pace, less in race conditions over a stint. It does have some degradation which will be the key to decision making on Sunday with regards to strategy.

We are likely to see two stops for most runners, unless there is a long safety car or multiple safety cars, which might tempt some to gamble on one stop.

But the use of the tyres will be interesting and should make for a race with plenty of movement through the field. The threat of rain in qualifying tomorrow could add to that movement.

2014 Belgian Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:49.189 26
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:49.793 +0.604 28
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:49.930 +0.741 19
4 Felipe Massa Williams 1:50.327 +1.138 24
5 Jenson Button McLaren 1:50.659 +1.470 31
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:50.677 +1.488 26
7 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:50.725 +1.536 25
8 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:50.977 +1.788 16
9 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:51.074 +1.885 31
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:51.077 +1.888 26
11 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:51.383 +2.194 26
12 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:51.450 +2.261 29
13 Sergio Perez Force India 1:51.573 +2.384 28
14 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:52.196 +3.007 25
15 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:52.234 +3.045 18
16 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:52.776 +3.587s 23
17 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:53.955 +4.766s 7
18 Max Chilton Marussia 1:54.040 +4.851s 18
19 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:54.050 +4.861s 30
20 Andre Lotterer Caterham 1:54.093 +4.904s 24
21 Pastor Maldonado Lotus no time 2
22 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing no time 0

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I can’t understand how Red Bull keep missing the fact that they’ve given Vettel “Mark’s car” all year.


No idea, but I won’t tell them if you don’t 😉


James, why do you think it’s always Kimi’s car that hits troubles? Pure hard luck or is it him trying hard and being less gentle with it?


Same as Vettel at RBR. It’s one of those things. He had amazing reliability at Lotus, so it’s not his style to damage cars


Thanks, James, I think so too. I exclude any conspiracy and will never believe in it (I think his mechanics and engineers get bonuses when he performs well) though It’s weird it’s always his car.


Interesting that Red Bull are down in the second sector but Ricciardo had the fastest speed trap time at one point.


Does anybody know how many times Maldonado crashed this year?


I’d love to help but I ran out of fingers.


for those who complain about driver size, I saw a huge man from endurance racing going into a caterham and driving it faster than the resident f1 driver.


Indeed. He’s a big fella, no doubt



The Briton finished an impressive 0.604 seconds ahead of Rosberg


is Lewis’s margin the only impressive one? Many drivers had healthy gaps over their team mates due to the length the lap accentuating the gap. As we all know, this is practice.


6 tenths on your team mate…..that has to be a kick in the teeth. I bet Rosberg won’t have any dreams tonight that don’t feature Hamilton’s telemetry. I wonder if they will stop ‘sharing’ once the WCC is in the bag?


Another ruined weekend for Vette!!! This could get worse with the penalties for using 6th and 7th engines

Waiting for some people to say how Ricciardo destroyed Vettel again.

Couple of days back, Twitter was buzz with the rumours that Mclaren has signed Vettel for 2015 and announcement is due at Monza.Considering the way things are, it wouldnt be bad if it turns out to be true


There is a long way to go in the weekend, but at the moment it looks like Mercedes have still got at least 0.8sec on the field – I don’t know if the Ferrari just 0.1 sec behind rosberg is because the car is competitive, or Alonso is working miracles?

The sauber cars are running competitive times at the moment, fingers crossed they can get into the points this weekend.

And is maldonado going to be the first to pick up grid place penalties for exceeding his power train element allcation? Lucky for him there isn’t a bodywork allocation 😉


it was interesting to hear the post prac comments of andre lotterer. this guy is well qualified to make comparos and his comment that his audi LMP1 was able to corner harder and faster than an F1 car was a telling point.

Sophie Elisabeth Belafonte

Good start! All the best this week-end ! Let’s have a clean Saturday and Sunday please Lewis!


James can we read anything between the performance of Rossi in FP1 and Chilton in FP2? Or too many variables between the runs to make any kind of judgement?

* Very simplistically Bianchi improved his FP1 time (1:55.782) in FP2 by 5 seconds.

* In FP1 Rossi was 1.5 seconds behind Bianchi.

* In FP2 Max was 1.2 seconds behind.

* Rossi (according to websites) is 10kgs heavier than Max and near as damn it the same height

* 10kgs is equal to 3/10th per lap

In other words Rossi would appear to be on Chilton’s pace after just a single practise.

Or am I making 2+2 = 22?!!!



I think if you consider that Rossi has never driven a Marussia car at all before, you have to take that as a major factor.

He’s a good driver, probably a Di Resta level driver if he ever got his chance. Capable of having a decent F1 career.


James, whats going on with ferrari and pat fry ? no mention of him in last press release about re-structuring, and today pat was originally supposed to appear in FIA press conf according to , but i saw james allison instead.


Yes, that’s the way it turned out. Not heard that he’s gone.


And yet all the major headlines are on Bernie. And F1 wonders why its popularity is sliding…


No, that’s just the problem: It doesn’t wonder, it just carries on oblivious…


James what were Kimi’s problems today?


He didn’t do any quali work in FP2 as he was in the garage too long, think he just did a race sim at the end of the session


Morning: Brakes
Afternoon: Electrical


Can Kimi make the Top 8 in Quailfying and Race this weekend James?


The Ferrari is capable of qualifying on second/third row so yes.

Merc powered cars are quicker on straights, of course, for race. But why not?


Come on Lewis 🙂

All the best for Saturday & Race day 🙂


Woah there! Let’s see if Lewis can get through to the end of Q3! With his car intact!

Amazing to think Lewis hasn’t qualified on the front row since Canada!

george debenham

Did you notice the new Caterham nose?

I think they have been trying to copy Mercedes but unfortunately it looks more like Paddy Lowes nose than the mercedes nose.


It’s marginally better, but still ugly (I mean than the old Caterham nose, not Paddy’s 🙂 )


I actually thought the new nose looked great. The caterham is better looking than the old nose made it look.


Isn’t it great to see racing cars be able to “stretch their legs” on a proper circuit with pedigree and charisma, not some dreary Tilke-drome that has zero atmosphere and a dire layout.

As for Lewis – no point being fast on a Friday if the Merc falls to bits on a Saturday……………

By the way, having been at Spa for a touring car race where the start takes place just before Eau Rogue (the old pits) it has often struck me how odd it is to have the F1 start just before a tight hairpin. Does some odd to have a clutch start and then just a few yards down the road have to break heavily…………….ah well, F1 oddity at its best.

Still……….fabulous circuit.


Did the other Ferrari actually do a medium tyre run? From what I saw he spent most of 2nd practice in the garage, not really surprising anymore


No just spoke to Allison and they didn’t do Med tyre run for various reasons.

Looks like difference between soft and medium is >1 sec per lap, much less in the race


when was last time anyone had used up all 5 engines and incurred penalty for using 6th one?


It’s a new rule for this year, previously it was 8 engines a year and I think only a couple of times at most was a penalty handed out for a 9th.


8 to 5 is brutal..


Pole was 1:47.573 two years ago during dry quali.

Pole was 1:46.391 last time F1 Gods had V10s in their chariots.

I don’t understand why the old layout has Schumi listed as holding top time of 1:47.176 when he set pole of 1:43.726 that same year – 2002. SICK for the quali car to be 3.5s faster. I know, waste of money, but can you imagine knowing that you’re about to go onboard an F1 rocket to post a lap that’s 3.5s faster than your race trim? That seperated the men from the fish.


“Which is weird because he did set that lap and that was the time and that car did it. Shouldn’t matter when and how as long as it was during sanctioned track time.

Yes, you are right, the reason I thought it was here because Schumi is stuck just under 18000 on that straight. But indeed the limit was technological as engines were blowing up over certain RPM level and it was done later.

Rose tinted or not, I know many of you are happy with 2014 because Lewis is in it. But when I look back at this footage all I know is that it is pleasing to the eye, pleasing to the ear, and felt right. Especially when compared to engines that sound ordinary and cars that have penile implants. I shouldn’t have looked back in time today because it only opened a wound again. F1 could have torque like you want and everything I wish it had like proper sound and looks and speed. Darn GP2 is at 107% of F1 this weekend again. Pathetic.”

It has always been the case that the records come from the race, dates back to the time when race laps would be faster than practice laps (before dedicated qualifying was brought in). I like F1 2014 because the racing has been good, the sound might not be great but then I didn’t like the overly shrill V8’s either, and at 138db the V6’s are hardly quiet. Schumy keeping to 18000 on the straight would likely have been a gearing/drag induced limit preventing the engine from going higher, Ferrari were very reliable back then and set the standard.

The weather has changed on a regular basis today making comparing different sessions meaningless, if it had stayed dry we would probably be looking at the fastest pole time since 2008 though, maybe further back than that.

I’ll take impressive racing over a good one lap run at some circuits (they could look pretty dull at times the early 2000’s cars) any day of the week.


It is not sheer speed that sets men apart from boys.

It is great to see the cars dancing again in Spa … I want to see more of this:

(1) Eau rouge is a corner again

(2) and apparently there were lots of drivers going sideways in the exit of Paul Frère

I am happy the noisy V8 speed train is a thing of the past.


Lap records come from the race rather than qualifying. Your replys to yourself are filled with rubbish. With regards to what was wrong with F1 2002, the races were boring. Nobody could overtake and we ended up with dull processions and I’ll take masses of torque over traction control and other such electronic trickery any day. As for grooved tyres, I think you’ll find theres a big difference between having a spec tyre and the two richest and most technologically advanced tyre firms throwing hundreds of millions of $$$ at them. Your memory is also going, the only time a V10 has run with a limiter was in 2006 when Torro Rosso still had the Cosworth V10, and the V8’s only brought in the limiter in 2007.

Maybe if you put away those rose tinted blinders you’d start making sense again.


Which is weird because he did set that lap and that was the time and that car did it. Shouldn’t matter when and how as long as it was during sanctioned track time.

Yes, you are right, the reason I thought it was here because Schumi is stuck just under 18000 on that straight. But indeed the limit was technological as engines were blowing up over certain RPM level and it was done later.

Rose tinted or not, I know many of you are happy with 2014 because Lewis is in it. But when I look back at this footage all I know is that it is pleasing to the eye, pleasing to the ear, and felt right. Especially when compared to engines that sound ordinary and cars that have penile implants. I shouldn’t have looked back in time today because it only opened a wound again. F1 could have torque like you want and everything I wish it had like proper sound and looks and speed. Darn GP2 is at 107% of F1 this weekend again. Pathetic.


HOLY CRAP! Schumi set that 1:43.726 on grooved tires!!! I forgot about those darn things slowing him down too. WOW. I love Schumi. I’m so glad I saw the whole Schumi era.

Runner up lap video Schumi @ Spa 2002


Thats a fair point Gaz but these engines weren’t exactly cheap were they? They astronomically expensive, and for what? Very loud (definitely cheaper) V10 wins hands down against very quiet + expensive and unnecessary hybrid technology engine. Road car manufacturers don’t need F1 to develop hybrids, that’s for sure.



Do you understand how much has been spent to get us to 2014 spec? 2008 F1 was cheap compared to what they spend today. Billions would have been saved if F1 stayed with V10 or V8 and tweaked away the electronics and aero. So using 2008 as an excuse it not really valid.


Sebee, at times you are good, at times you are bad,this time your coment above are good.

You see to participate in F1you needed an R /D,( research and development ) and testing and testing,the FIA in its wisdom saw no reason to continue and thrown out the window such a scheme,though the pharmaceutcal company spend $ bilions in R /D in hope to save the life,the FIA concept a unversal participation,and the head honcho in FIA forget it to put his hand before his eyes and realise not all the fingers are the same and diversity must apply if the compotition is a fair dinkum.

In the hind sight one may attribute the very slim survival of schumi being envolved while at Maranello in participation of R/D that has give a hoipe..

The great American Presindent Franklin D Rosevenlt once said if you can not stand the heat in the kitchen get out , the same apply to those I would if I could on the F1 grid .


Thing is Sebee, back in the early to mid 2000s, the western world was living in a bubble. F1 included.

And then in 2008/2009 that bubble burst, economically speaking. F1 included.

So, the western world has to “downsize” and get rid of some its indulgences. F1 included.

The western world has had to become more resourceful. F1 included.

The point of my ditty is, lets face, from about 1993 to 2008 western society was living in a credit bubble where money was easily available, but that era has gone, austerity is the new king, and F1 has had to become less other worldly, more part of the real world.


All you guys who say 2014 F1 sounds good and you don’t care about it on TV this video is me calling you out.

Plug in your headphones, play this video and listen to what F1 used to be like even with commentary on top with this quali lap. You tell me you don’t understand the speed and power that is in that car even from the TV broadcast sound. When Schumi flies by in this V10 Ferrari, hairs stand up on the back of your neck right now as you’re listening through headphones. If you were trackside for this V10 experience, you would be touched by F1 like nothing else and hooked. That sound, that vibration, that db level on all frequencies was unlike any other sound, unlike any other race car. My goodness, I look at this video and I think even on TV this F1 sounded amazing. It was awesome.

The time has come to look back at the V10 era and be amazed. I remember how annoyed many were when they put that 18000RPM limit on the V10s too. Oh F1, why art thou so tamed and lamed? F1 2014 is to F1 2002 what Phantom Menace is to original Star Wars. Sure, it brought revenue for George, but who says they like Star Wars because of Menace?


Look at this!

Go ahead. Feel free please to tell me what was wrong with F1 that needed fixing to get us where we are today? Cars look AWESOME and sound amazing. Refueling – non-stop quali laps if you could sustain it. It was like watching 100m sprinters sprint marathon distance. WOW. F1 was NOT broken. Someone needed to simply reign in this amazing winning machine that was Schumi and Ferrari, and eventually someone did.


Meanwhile, I will be keen to see if Lewis can carry on with his flat cap tradition this weekend.

Yes, with the exception of Canada, whenever Mercedes have had a new Lewis flat cap in the stores, not only has Lewis won the race but also won with a big margin e.g. Malaysia and Silverstone.


Lewis wearing his flat cap – perhaps he’s a secret Yorkshireman!


@ Gaz Boy

The flat cap would suggest Lewis is a secret Yorkshireman but his surname would say he is in fact a secret Scotsman.


Once again it looks like the teams have cancelled each other out with the upgrades for we’re back were we started in the first half of the season.

Strong performance from the Mercedes powered teams it looks like all the teams will make it to the top 10 with Force India being the only question mark.

As for Lewis, for some reason he has dominated FP2 this season and has not topped the times only twice.

After Alonso’s pessimism on Thursday, it seems Ferrari will get swallowed up in qualifying so will be interesting to see if Alonso can somehow reclaim his P5 slot.

As usual Kimi gets the majority of the bad luck but after Hungary he felt he was getting back to his old form as shown in FP1 which is a good sign.

After today’s running, Renault looks like the weakest engine and so the likes of Red Bull have their work cut out.

Regards Vettel, at least he can sleep easy tonight knowing he has got his weekend bad luck out of the way.

Thankfully, Maldonado wasn’t hurt after his shunt. The lad really does have nine lives, we pray his guardian angel keeps up with the good work.

Last but not least, looking at Rossi’s times in FP1 maybe he isn’t ready for the big time on the other hand, I thought Lotterer put in a good performance in relation to his teammate and most importantly, he didn’t bin the car which fact must give his colleagues confidence in race conditions.


Spot on about the Renault PU being out-grunted around the flat out blast of Spa.

It just shows what a fallacy having these new engines homologated in February was – i.e no chance of performance development. So if you’ve got a Regie V6 turning your rear axle, tough luck lads. Gary Anderson has speculated that the Renault is down on torque compared to the Merc by about 80 to 90 lb ft of torque. That’s a hell of a lot of twisting force!

If I remember correctly, the last time a new engine formula was introduced in 2006, the engine manufacturers had until the end of the European season – Monza – to submit their engines for homologation. And that was with a relatively bog standard, normally aspirated V8 motor. So why didn’t the FIA do the same this year?


@ Gaz Boy

I guess the FIA’s reasoning was seeing as these V6 engines were expensive to begin with, it would have really been a costly arms race should the teams have tried to develop them in-season.


Good questions Gaz, one can only wonder. Surely it would be better for competition to allow them to do so. F1 is becoming extremely restrictive these days, no wonder Adrian has walked away with these beyond strict rules. It’s good racing yes, but car development is nigh on impossible apart from the front wing basically


Even though I do agree about Rossi, Bianchi is much more of a challenge than Ericsson.


@ dren

Yes, that’s true.


When it comes to raw speed Hami you are the man, However he notice a hiccup in gearbox in the closing of the F 2 practice,hopefully all will be OK for the race.

One can’t stop wondering is it Mark Webber revisited,which always encountered problem but never to the resident of the Motherland? just a thought:

As for the race winner ? If I was a rich man I would put fiew bucks on the nose of No 14, I think he is a dark horse of the grid and wouldn’t suprise if he score his win at Francochamps this W/end


Resident? As far as I know, he’s only resided in Germany for all of six months (as a baby).

For Alonso to win, it would take the Mercedes taking each other out. That is the only way it could happen. Or some crazy rain causing havoc.


why not refined speed?


or intricate manoeuvre through traffic?


Just what is happening to Vettel at the moment.?

Apparently mechanical problems aren’t random and perhaps in his quest to best Riccardo, he is pushing the car too hard.

He needs to adjust his driving style to not put so much stress on it.

Well that’s what some people believe anyway. 🙂


No that’s just a load of rubbish quite frankly that the media are spinning


“Too much stress” – I doubt it, since none of the drivers get with-in 2000 RPM of the rev limit. Plus Spa will be the first time any of them get to use 8th gear.

Imagine what this years cars would do if we didn’t have to worry about fuel economy!


You very well maybe onto something here.


You can’t push components harder and go faster without shortening their lifespan

ah sorry – yes you can. read up on what mechanics used to say about prosts car after a race. there was very little wear on the componentry especially compared to keke rosberg who basically trashed the lot and was usually slower.




Electrical failure, power unit replacement? How on earth is that pushing the car too hard? If he were flying into the weeds all the time you’d have a point.

That POS power unit with Infinity on it, made by Renault is responsible for SV not getting any track time. I just hope the hybrid systems in their cars are more reliable 😉


The truth buzzzzzzzz, is that Vettel doesn’t like these break-by-wire systems too much. Many don’t as they don’t give the driver confidence.

Anyhow, I conceed that he may be unsettled by these brakes and indeed it causes him to push or be sloppy – which could add to failures as forces and loads are not as linear and even under such circumstances, and that has to take away from component life. That’s a maybe. It’s at least thrice as likely that my theory about Hamilton is right however. It’s just physics really. If you’re faster, you’re carrying more energy and there is more load on everything. You guys keep saying that he’s so much faster, and he has to push harder. He’s saving fuel over Rosberg, right? He can’t be doing this magically without additional shift to a higher gear. More shifts per lap, lower gear, more vibration in the drive train? Who knows. 0.7% load more here, 1.4% load there, etc. etc. add it all all, and it’s the finest of margin that makes a difference and it may be a compounding difference as PUs and gearboxes age perhaps it will be more visible as well. Who knows.

At least admit to the fact – if you’re faster, you carry higher forces, higher loads, and you do have to slow those down too be it via braking or engine RPMs.

Anyhow, if you give it some thought you can see that probability exists. Higher speed also takes away from your reaction time, and we’ve seen Lewis make mistakes. It’s a fine line buzzzzzzzz, and there is no magic. You can’t push components harder and go faster without shortening their lifespan. It’s how most stuff works really.



We are making fun of Seebee as he makes out that Hamiltons mechanical problems are because of the way he drives his car!!!





if you look closely, you’ll notice that vettel is faster than ricciardo. just you wait.

and sebee, where did you learn physics from, telling you that those vibrations you described due to gear changes could lead to a fire caused by a fuel leak or a brake disc failure?

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