Ferrari press release
It’s over three weeks since Formula 1 cars were last in action at the Hungaroring, but as could be expected, the break has not had a radical effect on the pecking order in the paddock. At the end of the first day of free practice for the twelfth round of the World Championship, a Red Bull Racing car tops the time sheet, followed by a Ferrari and a McLaren.
Mark Webber was quickest after the three hours on track, nearly all of it held in the rain, or at least on a wet surface. Behind came the first of the 150º Italia’s courtesy of Fernando Alonso, with Jenson Button completing the top trio. Felipe Massa was fifth in the other Ferrari, behind the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton and ahead of Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes.
No one was surprised to see that rain was on the agenda, as it is the most famous of the Spa Francorchamps clichés, but even by Belgian Grand Prix standards, the way the weather switched from dry to wet in the morning and then did the same all over again in the afternoon was quite unusual. It meant that evaluating the two types of dry weather tyre brought here by Pirelli had to be crammed into a very small window of opportunity. Equally difficult was getting a clear picture of the benefits of the new parts brought here to Belgium.
Nevertheless, both Fernando and Felipe said they were happy with the behaviour of their 150º Italias, which seem to be well balanced around the seven kilometres of the longest track on the calendar. Both cars ran trouble free throughout the day. And speaking of clichés, Felipe, a real fan of the Belgian circuit, pointed out that Eau Rouge, generally considered one of the most fearsome corners on the calendar is now “almost a straight!” One new driver on the grid: Bruno Senna replaces Nick Heidfeld at Lotus Renault and the Brazilian ended the day in seventeenth place.
More rain is forecast for tomorrow: will it affect qualifying in the afternoon, will race day be dry? As usual, nothing at Spa-Francorchamps is ever clear cut, which all adds to the appeal of this charismatic venue.