Rosberg leads the way for Mercedes in first practice

2016 Belgian Grand Prix first practice

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Nico Rosberg led the first practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix with seven-tenths of a second in hand over his team mate.

Rosberg was running a visibly steeper rear wing on his Mercedes than Lewis Hamilton as both set their fastest times on the super-soft rubber early in the session.

Kimi Raikkonen got within a few tenths of a second of Hamilton’s time to put his Ferrari third-quickest. Raikkonen was quicker than Mercedes in the first and third sectors, both of which feature long straights, after Mercedes had installed new power units for this session. However the Ferrari drivers was almost nine-tenths of a second slower than Rosberg through the middle of the lap.

The two Force Indias set competitive times early in the session. Sergio Perez was the only driver besides Raikkonen to get within a second of Rosberg while using the soft compound tyres.

The Red Bull drivers saved their fastest runs until the end of the session. Daniel Ricciardo led the team’s cars to sixth and seventh place.

Ricciardo was one of four drivers to test a version of the Halo at the beginning of the session, along with Rosberg, Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jnr.

The second Force India took eighth place ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Gutierrez. Romain Grosjean was right behind his team mate in 11th place but was heard complaining about tyre performance and a power unit de-rating problem during the session.

Esteban Ocon ended his first practice session as a Manor driver with over a second in hand over team mate Pascal Wehrlein.

Jolyon Palmer also had trouble and limped back to the pits at one stage. Meanwhile Fernando Alonso did not set a time after a problem was found with his newly-installed Honda power unit.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
16Nico RosbergMercedes1’48.34827
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’49.0780.73025
37Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’49.1470.79924
411Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’49.2740.92623
55Sebastian VettelFerrari1’49.7681.42019
63Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’49.7821.43424
733Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’49.8651.51724
827Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’50.0881.74021
977Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’50.3942.04631
1021Esteban GutierrezHaas-Ferrari1’50.5832.23521
118Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’50.8992.55118
1219Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’51.1222.77428
139Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’51.1252.77716
1455Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Ferrari1’51.4243.07617
1512Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’51.7683.42019
1631Esteban OconManor-Mercedes1’51.7873.43926
1726Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Ferrari1’52.3083.96019
1822Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’52.4074.05918
1994Pascal WehrleinManor-Mercedes1’52.8374.48923
2020Kevin MagnussenRenault1’53.0534.70520
2130Jolyon PalmerRenault1’53.0894.74120

First practice visual gaps

Nico Rosberg – 1’48.348

+0.730 Lewis Hamilton – 1’49.078

+0.799 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’49.147

+0.926 Sergio Perez – 1’49.274

+1.420 Sebastian Vettel – 1’49.768

+1.434 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’49.782

+1.517 Max Verstappen – 1’49.865

+1.740 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’50.088

+2.046 Valtteri Bottas – 1’50.394

+2.235 Esteban Gutierrez – 1’50.583

+2.551 Romain Grosjean – 1’50.899

+2.774 Felipe Massa – 1’51.122

+2.777 Marcus Ericsson – 1’51.125

+3.076 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’51.424

+3.420 Felipe Nasr – 1’51.768

+3.439 Esteban Ocon – 1’51.787

+3.960 Daniil Kvyat – 1’52.308

+4.059 Jenson Button – 1’52.407

+4.489 Pascal Wehrlein – 1’52.837

+4.705 Kevin Magnussen – 1’53.053

+4.741 Jolyon Palmer – 1’53.089

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

Author information

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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12 comments on “Rosberg leads the way for Mercedes in first practice”

  1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    26th August 2016, 10:37


    1. The pascal (symbol: Pa) is the SI derived unit of pressure used to quantify internal pressure, stress, Young’s modulus and ultimate tensile strength. It is defined as one newton per square metre.[1] It is named after the French polymath Blaise Pascal.

    2. Pascal is an imperative and procedural programming language, which Niklaus Wirth designed in 1968–69 and published in 1970, as a small, efficient language intended to encourage good programming practices using structured programming and data structuring.

      1. wasn’t he the guy who ran simtek? and there i was thinking he’d achieved nothing….

        1. Same name, different guy

  2. Exciting speed displayed by Sauber. Here’s hoping they can get their new aero parts working fine this weekend.

  3. Force India are 15 points behind Williams, is this the weekend for them to get that 15 and move to 4th overall?

  4. Wow, Esteban really fast. Hope this performance continues rest of the season.

    1. Yes. There is a significant gap between the two Manor drivers. Teams and fans will be closely watching Esteban Ocon’s performance this weekend.

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