Formula One returns from a 4 week summer break refreshed and ready for the final part of the season as the Belgian Grand Prix plays host to a weekend that promises action packed drama.
The Spa Francorchamps circuit is a grand prix track frozen in time, its sweeping curves and long straights have remained unchanged from the spit and polish of the Herman Tilka era of track design.
Spa Francorchamps provides plenty of over taking opportunities and its fearsome 180mph Eau Rouge corner combines to make the Belgian Grand Prix one of the best and most unforgiving of race tracks in Formula One, only Japan’s Suzuka Circuit comes close.
The second half of the campaign began pretty much as the first half did, Mercedes F1 dominated both first and second session’s of free practice. Round one went to Nico Rosberg but round two was resolutely dominated by Lewis Hamilton who recorded a time over half a second quicker than his Mercedes F1 team mate.
Hamilton’s time of 1m49.189s was set on Pirelli’s soft tyres, Rosberg set a time of 1m49.793s, Fernando Alonso hustled his under performing Ferrari to a surprise third just over a tenth behind Rosberg. The Williams pairing of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas finished 4th and 6th with Jenson Button separating the pair in 5th.
Buttons teammate, Kevin Magnussen, took a considered 9th on the grid while the Force India driven by Nico Hulkenberg rounded off the top 10. Kimi Raikkonen ended 15th on the grid, the Ferrari driver complained about an unstable rear end throughout the session. Still this was much better progress than Sebastian Vettel who sat out the session because his engine needed rebuilding after an electrical fire.
Practice two was interrupted by two red-flags but that wasn’t enough to distract Lewis Hamilton who got the job done and set down an early marker for race victory. But the race weekend is long and nothing is given in Formula One.