Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2015

Rosberg’s accident leaves teams in the dark

2015 Belgian Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2015Nico 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:

Lewis Hamilton111.58124.803121.023123.374122.909111.35
Nico Rosberg114.88114.681114.72115.146116.765
Daniel Ricciardo115.444120.021
Daniil Kvyat117.387115.376
Felipe Massa112.547138.795112.468139.212112.896
Valtteri Bottas115.722115.31115.634116.012120.402
Sebastian Vettel112.606113.152127.662113.608
Kimi Raikkonen116.646115.752
Fernando Alonso113.634132.686
Jenson Button118.076117.93
Nico Hulkenberg116.176115.985
Sergio Perez116.01115.627
Max Verstappen116.18116.11116.591
Carlos Sainz Jnr114.799115.219115.962116.086
Romain Grosjean115.071
Pastor Maldonado117.1117.182
Marcus Ericsson113.56148.536128.85126.955113.043
Felipe Nasr118.184118.585117.486119.08
Will Stevens120.157120.606
Roberto Merhi114.666140.039114.253

Complete practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2Total laps
1Nico RosbergMercedes1’51.0821’49.38538
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’51.3241’49.68747
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’51.3731’50.13633
4Daniil KvyatRed Bull-Renault1’51.9601’50.39936
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’51.4781’50.46146
6Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’52.6141’50.46141
7Romain GrosjeanLotus-Mercedes1’50.48921
8Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’53.4261’50.70934
9Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’52.6401’50.92840
10Sebastian VettelFerrari1’51.8661’50.94044
11Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’52.4231’50.97141
12Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault1’52.4211’51.03750
13Max VerstappenToro Rosso-Renault1’52.1581’51.11752
14Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’52.5111’51.25044
15Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Mercedes1’52.5391’51.31731
16Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’52.6531’51.58848
17Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’54.2251’51.85430
18Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’53.5021’52.57029
19Jolyon PalmerLotus-Mercedes1’53.79923
20Will StevensManor-Ferrari1’55.5011’54.06533
21Roberto MerhiManor-Ferrari1’56.0861’54.25331

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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