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Friday analysis - weather makes for limited learning 26 Aug 2011

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB7.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 26 August 2011 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 150 Italia.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 26 August 2011 McLaren MP4/26 detail. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 26 August 2011 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 26 August 2011 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber C30.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 26 August 2011 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India F1  Reserve Driver. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 26 August 2011 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW33. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 26 August 2011 Sebastien Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR6.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 26 August 2011 Bruno Senna (BRA) Lotus Renault GP R31. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 26 August 2011 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Team Lotus T128.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 26 August 2011 Jerome d'Ambrosio (BEL) Virgin Racing MVR-02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 26 August 2011 Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) HRT Formula 1 Team F111.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 26 August 2011

As expected, the usual Spa weather affected running in both sessions, making it difficult for everyone to draw hard and fast conclusions on their levels of performance. The window for Pirelli’s slicks was limited to around 15 minutes in the afternoon, with only five in which the track was really dry. Several teams thus decided that rather than risk running two short stints on the medium and soft rubber, they would just run the former. We take a team-by-team look at Friday’s form in Belgium…

Red Bull
Mark Webber, 2m 09.792s, P16/1m 50.321s, P1
Sebastian Vettel, 2m 03.752s, P4/1m 51.790s, P10

Webber cheerfully confirmed that Red Bull had just been doing the housekeeping, working on things such as ride height and brake balance. He managed two laps on the soft Pirelli’s, two on the mediums. Neither he nor Vettel reported any problems as they ran relatively low downforce and thus enjoyed strong straight-line speed.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 2m 07.055s, P11/1m 50.461s, P2
Felipe Massa, 2m 04.728s, P7/1m 51.218s, P5

Alonso said his first feelings were positive, that his Ferrari’s balance was good and that no major changes will be needed for the rest of the weekend. Massa said it was hard to make sense of a ‘strange’ day.

McLaren
Jenson Button, 2m 02.740s, P3/1m 50.770s, P3
Lewis Hamilton, 2m 04.301s, P5/1m 50.838s, P4

Button and Hamilton tried new rear wings and said they were quite happy with progress and felt that McLaren should be competitive in the wet or the dry. Hamilton admitted to a major scare at Blanchimont in the morning session when he just caught a major tank-slapper as he ran across a river there at 150 mph.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, 1m 54.829s, P2/1m 51.242s, P6
Michael Schumacher, 1m 54.355s, P1/1m 51.922s, P11

Both drivers tried a modified front wing and said they were satisfied with what they were able to learn in the changing conditions. They dominated the first session by being the only ones to go out before the rain came.

Sauber
Sergio Perez, 2m 07.481s, P12/1m 51.655s, P7
Kamui Kobayashi, 2m 06.886s, P10/1m 52.780s, P13

Perez said he was happy to get several laps on the soft Pirelli in the afternoon, but Kobayashi only managed one before the weather worsened.

Force India
Adrian Sutil (am only), 2m 04.663s, P6
Paul di Resta, 2m 13.058s, P20/1m 51.751s, P9
Nico Hulkenberg (pm only), 1m 51.725s, P8

Sutil said the team thought the rain would come in the afternoon, hence delaying Hulkenberg’s run until then, so they got caught out when it arrived in the morning session. But while he was quite happy with progress then, Di Resta half spun and slid into the tyre wall at Turn 9. He made amends in the afternoon with a strong ninth fastest performance, right on Hulkenberg’s tail. The latter managed runs on both types of slicks.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, 2m 08.918s, P15/1m 52.750s, P12
Rubens Barrichello, 2m 05.391s, P8/1m 53.156s, P16

Both drivers said they had as productive a day as possible evaluating new but unspecified upgrades, but Barrichello reported failure of his KERS in the afternoon session.

Toro Rosso
Jaime Alguersuari, 2m 06.583s, P9/1m 52.911s, P14
Sebastien Buemi, 2m 08.239s, P14/1m 53.009s, P15

Both drivers were quite happy with their pace, especially as neither got a run on the soft Pirelli in the afternoon.

Renault
Bruno Senna, 2m 14.340s, P23/1m 53.835s, P17
Vitaly Petrov, 2m 13.601s, P22/2m 02.234s, P24

Senna’s day began badly when he backed his car into the tyre wall in Turn 9 after spinning in the morning, but damage was light and he made amends with a decent performance in the afternoon. He and Petrov both got runs in on the soft tyre, but the Russian was then hampered by a power steering problem which will necessitate a change of rack for tomorrow.

Lotus
Jarno Trulli, 2m 08.233s, P13/1m 55.051s, P18
Heikki Kovalainen (pm only), 1m 56.202s, P20
Karun Chandhok (am only), 2m 13.090s, P21

Lotus had a trouble-free day and Trulli and Kovalainen managed runs on both slick tyres in the afternoon. Chandhok enjoyed his morning run, but said he hit traffic on his best lap.

Virgin
Timo Glock, 2m 12.278s, P17/1m 55.494s, P19
Jerome d'Ambrosio, 2m 12.772s, P19/1m 56.816s, P21

Virgin reported a frustrating day as their plans had been formulated around dry conditions, but said they gained a better understanding of getting the best from Pirelli’s intermediates.

HRT
Vitantonio Liuzzi, 2m 12.389s, P18/1m 57.450s, P22
Daniel Ricciardo, 2m 14.933s, P24/1m 57.612s, P23

HRT had a normal day, albeit interrupted by the weather.

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