Nico Rosberg has continued atop the timesheets in Friday’s second practice session of the Belgian Grand Prix, but it was another session of drama for the Mercedes driver.

This time, the German suffered a high-speed tyre blowout on the approach to the Blanchimont corner; fortunately he managed to avoid crashing into the barriers and still finished the session fastest overall from teammate Lewis Hamilton.

His best time of the session was a 1:49.385 posted on the Soft Pirelli tyres, putting him three-tenths of a second faster than the reigning World Champion at the end of the session.

Rosberg’s incident was the first of two red flags in an interrupted session, but he also wasn’t the only driver to have potential tyre worries as Pirelli found the spotlight quickly being focused on its rubber.

Four-time Belgian Grand Prix winner Kimi Räikkönen also had his tyres blistering in the unexpectedly warm conditions, and there is no doubt that Ferrari will be keen to find out why, as will Mercedes. The Finn finished fifth-fastest in the session, posting an identical lap-time to Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg.

Räikkönen finished behind the Red Bull Racing duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat, who both seemed very comfortable in their RB11s to end the FP2 session without any major reliability hiccups. It was a very positive day as the team tried the latest upgrades to its Renault power units.

Also sporting upgraded engines were the two McLaren Hondas of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, who finished well down the timesheets. The new power units means both drivers will start from the back of the grid thanks to a combined 55-place grid penalty between the duo; Button receives 25 places and Alonso gets 30 places.

Marcus Ericsson had a tough session when he ended up in the barriers after losing control of his Sauber at the exit of Pouhon, bringing out the session’s first red flag. It was a costly mistake for the Swedish driver, who caused heavy rear-end damage and destroyed one of the rear wings the team had designed specifically for this event. Nonetheless, he and teammate Felipe Nasr both finished inside the top-ten, suggesting they have made some progress thanks to running a newer specification Ferrari engine for the first time.

Although he set the seventh-fastest time of the session, Lotus’ Romain Grosjean was another driver to stop out on track. The Frenchman suffered a loss of power just at the end of the 2 session. It added another problem to an already lengthy list; the team’s mechanics had to work frantically on the sister E23 Hybrid of Pastor Maldonado after the Venezuelan’s sizeable accident in FP1.

Saturday’s final practice session at Spa-Francorchamps begins at 11am local time (GMT +2).


2015 Formula 1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 Results
Pos Driver Team / Entry Time Gap Laps
1. Nico Rosberg de Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid 1:49.385 19
2. Lewis Hamilton uk Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid 1:49.687 + 0.302 23
3. Daniel Ricciardo au Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11 1:50.136 + 0.751 15
4. Daniil Kvyat ru Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11 1:50.399 + 1.014 18
5. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T 1:50.461 + 1.076 23
6. Nico Hülkenberg de Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08B 1:50.461 + 1.076 21
7. Romain Grosjean fr Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid 1:50.489 + 1.104 21
8. Marcus Ericsson se Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34 1:50.709 + 1.324 18
9. Felipe Nasr br Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34 1:50.928 + 1.543 24
10. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T 1:50.940 + 1.555 23
11. Sergio Pérez mx Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08B 1:50.971 + 1.586 21
12. Carlos Sainz es Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10 1:51.037 + 1.652 24
13. Max Verstappen nl Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10 1:51.117 + 1.732 25
14. Valtteri Bottas fi Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37 1:51.250 + 1.865 25
15. Pastor Maldonado ve Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid 1:51.317 + 1.932 16
16. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37 1:51.588 + 2.203 26
17. Jenson Button uk McLaren Honda MP4-30 1:51.854 + 2.469 16
18. Fernando Alonso es McLaren Honda MP4-30 1:52.570 + 3.185 14
19. Will Stevens uk Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03B 1:54.065 + 4.680 17
20. Roberto Merhi es Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03B 1:54.253 + 4.868 14

Image via FOM

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