Rosberg tops Hamilton in Mercedes 1-2 in Belgian GP practice

However, Rosberg, who is set to become a father for the first time with his wife Vivian due to give birth next week, believes he can wrestle the initiative back from his team-mate. Rules dictating the race start are being tightened from this weekend, placing the onus for getting the vehicle off the line squarely on the driver without any assistance from the pitwall.


His fastest time was 0.498secs clear of Rosberg, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel third 0.147secs adrift.

“The layout is normally strongly suited to the characteristics of our auto, so I head to this weekend looking for a strong result”, said Finland’s Valtteri Bottas. “It was at maximum speed, so not good“.

Mercedes executive director Paddy Lowe told reporters afterwards that “there seemed to be some bits of tyre structure coming out up to a minute before the actual terminal failure of the tyre”.

The Belgian Grand Prix at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is known for being one of the toughest, fastest races on the Formula One calendar, and is often ranked second only to Monza.

The analysis of the ruined rubber will go into the night, but the homework on how master the new starts has been going on for weeks.

The high profile of Hamilton, that Bernie Ecclestone admires so much for helping promote F1, was accompanied by an unusually magnanimous attitude from Hamilton. With outside assistance from engineers removed, the stars of the show will be centre stage, with no-one else to blame.

Also suffering from some severe bad luck this season is McLaren, whose drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button will start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid. Rosberg noted that during the summer break he fitted a baby seat to his auto for his first child, who is expected next week, while Hamilton had holidayed in Colorado, Barbados and New York. He too has been studying. “Hopefully we will get some more information about what happened”.

Last year, Hamilton and Rosberg collided in a controversial and spectacular incident that overshadowed the race and led to disciplinary action by the team, a sequence of events that team chief Austrian Toto Wolff is keen not to see repeated. It is the longest circuit in Formula One with a single-lap distance of 4.352m (7.004km) at an average speed of around 230kph. Remove even more of the driver aids which have become commonplace.

“We don’t want Lewis winning this thing by Monza, do we?” he said in Belgium. A 360-degree spin at 200mph is not something you expect at all.

Dicing for the lead on lap two, Rosberg’s front wing made contact with Hamilton’s left-rear tyre.

He added: “It’s been working well for me for the last couple of years”. “There is no hangover and there is no thought about the past”.

“I am not conscious of what he’s got to do”.


Although the Briton has been the polesitter in 9 of the 10 races so far this year, this guarantees nothing at Spa.

Ferrari at the 2015 Formula One Belgian Grand Prix