Belgian F1 Grand Prix 2011: Free Practice Report (MGP)
The MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team completed two busy practice sessions today in preparation for Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. Conditions were typical of the Ardennes, with numerous showers through the day.
• The MERCEDES GP PETRONAS drivers completed a total of 74 laps in practice, equivalent to over 515 km running
• Both drivers ran a selection of development parts during the day, including a modified front wing this afternoon
• The technical programme included evaluations of different downforce levels in the mixed wet-dry conditions
"It was quite difficult out there today in typical Spa conditions, but we still managed to have two good practice sessions. We learned a few things in both the dry and the wet, and managed to do some tests for both the race and qualifying, so I'm quite positive ahead of tomorrow."
"It was a special feeling to be out on track today for the first practice sessions of this anniversary weekend in Spa. A lot of things have changed here in the past twenty years, but the weather certainly hasn't! Today was another typical Spa day, with mixed conditions and very little dry running. The conditions meant that we couldn't do much work on the set-up, although we made the most of the limited time when the circuit was dry. Even so, it will be tricky to find the right set-up compromise for Sunday, because the weather here is always so unpredictable."
"We had a very mixed day in terms of weather conditions; however, the team did a good and comprehensive job. We managed to run well in the limited dry windows and learned a lot about the balance of the car in dry conditions. The challenge for Sunday will be whether to favour a wet or dry set-up, so we will need to see how the weather develops tomorrow. We will then focus on what we expect to experience in the race, rather than the qualifying conditions. This is a track which responds very strongly to high downforce in the wet but it can be quite a disadvantage in the dry. Overall, today has seen a good day's work with the cars functioning well."
"It was a typical start to a Spa weekend, just like we've known it for many years - partly dry but mostly wet. Both Nico and Michael did quite a lot of laps and our basis for the weekend on this unique and challenging circuit seems not too bad. The forecast predicts rain for tomorrow, so we need to be prepared for a very challenging qualifying session and we want to make sure we get the best possible results out of it."
* Official photos and report courtesy of MERCEDES GP PETRONAS *
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