Rosberg’s accident leaves teams in the dark

2015 Belgian Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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Nico Rosberg was unharmed after his car snapped out of control at over 300kph due to a tyre failure. But what damage has the incident done to his chances this weekend?

His hair-raising spin notwithstanding, Rosberg ended the day in a strong position. His first practice run had also been disrupted, by a minor problem with his power unit, but he ended both ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Afterwards Rosberg suggested that would lead his team mate to crib from his set-up sheet overnight.

“Nico is very quick,” Hamilton admitted, “so I have some work to do tonight to see where I can find some time.”

And on the harder tyre at least, Mercedes may have to keep at least one eye on the opposition. “Ferrari and Red Bull also look closer here than they have at past weekends,” Hamilton added, “so it’ll be a close run thing and we’ll need to be up for the fight”.

At the time of writing the big question is what Pirelli’s investigation into the remains of Rosberg’s right-rear soft compound tyre will reveal. Kimi Raikkonen also reported blistering on one of his tyres during practice but that was the front-left tyre.

Nonetheless Pirelli will anxious to ensure there is no repeat of the spate of failures which occurred at Silverstone two years ago, or the camber-related problems some teams experienced at Spa in 2011. As they are presently competing with Michelin to win a tender to be F1’s future tyre supplier, any doubts over the integrity of their product must be nipped in the bud.

With teams having cut their race simulation runs short (see below) tomorrow’s final practice session will be a vital opportunity for them to find some answers about the longevity of the tyres. The soft tyre’s performance margin makes it the obvious choice for qualifying, but its durability is a major question mark.

Longest stint comparison – second practice

This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Lewis Hamilton 111.58 124.803 121.023 123.374 122.909 111.35
Nico Rosberg 114.88 114.681 114.72 115.146 116.765
Daniel Ricciardo 115.444 120.021
Daniil Kvyat 117.387 115.376
Felipe Massa 112.547 138.795 112.468 139.212 112.896
Valtteri Bottas 115.722 115.31 115.634 116.012 120.402
Sebastian Vettel 112.606 113.152 127.662 113.608
Kimi Raikkonen 116.646 115.752
Fernando Alonso 113.634 132.686
Jenson Button 118.076 117.93
Nico Hulkenberg 116.176 115.985
Sergio Perez 116.01 115.627
Max Verstappen 116.18 116.11 116.591
Carlos Sainz Jnr 114.799 115.219 115.962 116.086
Romain Grosjean 115.071
Pastor Maldonado 117.1 117.182
Marcus Ericsson 113.56 148.536 128.85 126.955 113.043
Felipe Nasr 118.184 118.585 117.486 119.08
Will Stevens 120.157 120.606
Roberto Merhi 114.666 140.039 114.253

Complete practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 Total laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’51.082 1’49.385 38
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’51.324 1’49.687 47
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1’51.373 1’50.136 33
4 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull-Renault 1’51.960 1’50.399 36
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’51.478 1’50.461 46
6 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’52.614 1’50.461 41
7 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Mercedes 1’50.489 21
8 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1’53.426 1’50.709 34
9 Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 1’52.640 1’50.928 40
10 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’51.866 1’50.940 44
11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’52.423 1’50.971 41
12 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso-Renault 1’52.421 1’51.037 50
13 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso-Renault 1’52.158 1’51.117 52
14 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1’52.511 1’51.250 44
15 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Mercedes 1’52.539 1’51.317 31
16 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’52.653 1’51.588 48
17 Jenson Button McLaren-Honda 1’54.225 1’51.854 30
18 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1’53.502 1’52.570 29
19 Jolyon Palmer Lotus-Mercedes 1’53.799 23
20 Will Stevens Manor-Ferrari 1’55.501 1’54.065 33
21 Roberto Merhi Manor-Ferrari 1’56.086 1’54.253 31

2015 Belgian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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7 comments on “Rosberg’s accident leaves teams in the dark”

  1. Rosberg on pole and at least one tyre blowing up in the race.

    The Ferrari – Red Bull battle for the last podium spot should be interesting.

    1. And Maldonado crashing, don’t forget that.

    2. @paeschli You are probably correct, in the end nothing really new. That said Vettel clocked a 54.7 with the medium.
      Merc quick but unstable, I just think that this looks like the closest weekend this year, even considering the power rating at SPA. Merc pole, struggle on tyres, Ferrari 2nd qualifying, good on tyres and RBR 3rd and ok on tyres.

  2. Hamilton way down on Rosberg in the speed trap. Wonder if he is banking on wet weather with more downforce on the car.

    1. Then it’s certainly going to rain. He has that sort of luck.

  3. Indy 2005 minus Bridgestones equals……

    Oh I know – Pirelli sharing our concerns of how wrong many of the on-track things are in F1 and boycotting the race!

  4. The long run paces in the graph are pretty short with Redbull and Ferrari having short runs.

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