The second session in qualifying saw race strategies begin early, as the two Ferrari’s, Nico Rosberg and Daniel Ricciardo all opted to set their best time on the soft compound tyre rather than the super soft.
The fastest time set in Q2 determines what tyre a driver will start the race on providing they make it into Q3, so setting a best time on the soft tyre rather than the super soft will allow drivers to run a longer first stint in the race.
Both Ricciardo and team mate Max Verstappen were asked which tyres they wanted to run in Q2 given the unseasonable heat in Spa, with the two deciding run different tyre compounds which will split strategy come Sunday’s race.
“Max wanted the super softs to start the race, and I wanted the softs, so it was easy,” Ricciardo said.
“The team we talked about maybe doing two different strategies, and then they asked us what we wanted to do, and we both wanted to do different strategies, so it’s a good scenario for us.
“Obviously Max thinks his one will work, I think mine will work. Rosberg and both Ferraris think the soft is the better tyre to start the race. I just think the super soft is a bit more inconclusive, and it can work.
“But if it doesn’t it can lose you quite a bit of lap time. There is some blistering and some things happening with the tyres, which you can’t quite predict. So for me the soft was a little bit of a safer option. And that is why we have gone for that.”
It was a big risk taken by Ricciardo and the team, as his time set on the soft tyre only just allowed him to scrape into Q3.
“I was a little bit nervous but I told the team, because we set a target and I knew if I did a 48.0 it should be safe. We calculated what the other cars could do. We believed that was okay.
“I said to the team, look we had already decided before the session that this would be safe, so let’s stay in the box, and they wanted to stay as well. They were keeping an eye on everyone. My engineer said, right, we are not going to go out, just fingers crossed. And it worked. It was close but it was okay.”
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