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2016 Belgian Grand Prix – Practice Sessions

2016 Belgian Grand Prix – Practice Sessions

 TEMPERATURES PEAKING AT 44 DEGREES ASPHALT, THE HIGHEST ONES SEEN IN BELGIUM IN THE LAST SIX SEASONS

RED BULL DRIVER MAX VERSTAPPEN SETS FASTEST TIME OF DAY IN FP2 ON THE SUPERSOFT TYRES, ECLIPSING LAST YEAR’S BENCHMARK

DRIVERS ALSO USE PROTOTYPE TYRES, DESIGNED WITH EXTRA STRENGTH AS PART OF PIRELLI’S REGULAR DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Spa-Francorchamps, August 26, 2016 – Unusually for Spa, hot weather characterised both free practice sessions in the foothills of the Ardennes, with ambient temperatures peaking at 35 degrees centigrade and to 44 degrees asphalt in the afternoon. The teams ran all three nominated compounds today – medium, soft, and supersoft – with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen going fastest of all in the afternoon on the supersoft tyre, with a time of 1m48.085s that shattered last year’s FP2 benchmark of 1m49.385s.

Nico Rosberg already beat that benchmark in FP1, where he made Formula 1 history by going fastest in an official session for the first time with a halo device fitted. Then, in FP2 both Mercedes drivers didn’t run supersoft tyres.

In addition, some drivers sampled Pirelli’s new prototype tyres, with two additional sets each per car allocated for Friday only. These soft compound tyres contain elements that help to resist multiple impacts, as part of Pirelli’s ongoing development programme. The data from these tyres will now be analysed, with a view to using them in future.

With Spa being the longest lap of the year by some margin, the supersoft contained a notable performance advantage: now in excess of 1.2 seconds. This means that the softest tyre available looks set to be the default choice for qualifying, making it very important for the teams to gather as much wear data as possible today in preparation for the grand prix. If the hot weather continues throughout the weekend, the information collected today should have a direct correlation to qualifying tomorrow and the race on Sunday.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “The teams were all able to accumulate a lot of relevant information that will be valuable when it comes to formulating their strategies for the race, with the supersoft being used at Spa for the first time this year. If the hot weather continues, as we saw some quite high degradation today, tyre management will be very important on Sunday. For today only, some drivers also made use of our prototype tyres, which were soft compound tyres containing certain new elements that are designed to further improve resistance to multiple impacts. This is part of our ongoing development plan, and we will now look at the data obtained to evaluate if these elements will be used in future.

FP1 – TIMES     FP2 – TIMES    
1. Rosberg 1m48.348s Supersoft new 1. Verstappen 1m48.085s Supersoft new
2. Hamilton 1m49.078s Supersoft new 2. Ricciardo 1m48.341s Supersoft new
3. Raikkonen 1m49.147s Soft New 3. Hulkenberg 1m48.657s Supersoft new

FP1 – BEST TIME PER COMPOUND

Test Rosberg 1m49.481s
Supersoft Rosberg 1m48.348s
Medium Rosberg 1m49.520s
Soft Raikkonen 1m49.147s

FP2 – BEST TIME PER COMPOUND

Test Hamilton 1m49.782s
Soft Ricciardo 1m49.133s
Medium Rosberg 1m50.558s
Supersoft Verstappen 1m48.085s

LONGEST STINTS OF THE DAY

Soft Magnussen 21 laps
Medium Rosberg 18
Test Bottas 15
Supersoft Hulkenberg 13
Supersoft Vettel 13

Tyre statistics of the day:

  Medium Soft Supersoft Prototype (Soft)
kms driven * 1862 2660 1386 179
sets used overall ** 26 39 41 41
highest number of laps ** 18 21 15 15

* The above number gives the total amount of kilometres driven in FP1 and FP2 today, all drivers combined. ** Per compound, all drivers combined.

Minimum prescribed tyre pressures: 23,5 psi (front); 22 psi (rear)

Pirelli fact of the day: The winning car at the Spa 24 Hours in Belgium last month, which was exclusively supplied by Pirelli, covered a total of 531 laps: or more than 3717 kilometres. By contrast, the winner on Sunday will only be expected to cover 44 laps: around 12 times less distance. However, the F1 cars are travelling a lot quicker: pole position for the Spa 24 Hours was 2m17.671s.

Spotted in the paddock: Nafi Thaim. The Belgian heptathlete claimed a gold medal in the Rio Olympics recently, but Spa is quite local to her: the 22-year-old studies geography when she is not competing in athletics, at the University of Liege.

For more information: please visit our all-new website, which is regularly updated with exclusive in-depth features, news and reviews. To find out more, please visit: http://racing.pirelli.com/global/en-ww/belgium-2016-practice

Distribution channels: Automotive Industry