by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

Belgian F1 Grand Prix 2012: Friday's Free Practice Report (VMM)

- MP4-27A-04
- FP1: 2m16.827s (+5.438s), 5 laps, 15th
- FP2: No time, 2 laps, 14th

“It’s been incredibly wet today – there were lots of rivers running across the track and lots of aquaplaning, so you had to be very wary out there. There’s no real benefit to be gained from pushing the car, but there are always things we can learn, so we did a couple of installation laps to check the effects of the upgrades we’ve brought to this race and see how the tyres switch on in the wet.

“It’s going to be challenging tomorrow, but everyone is in the same boat – no joke intended! If it dries out, the track will be green in the morning, so you’ll be setting the car up during a couple of runs in FP3.

“Nevertheless, it’s great to be back out on track. A Formula 1 car would be fun to drive even if it were snowing, so I just enjoyed every little bit of lap I had.”

- MP4-27A-02
- FP1: 2m16.861s, 8 laps, 16th
- FP2: No time, 2 laps, 16th

“We did a couple of installation laps, but that was about it. The weather was better during the morning session because you were able to do a couple of laps with only a little bit of aquaplaning. This afternoon was extremely wet – the only reason we ran in FP2 was to do out-laps and in-laps in order to practise our starts.

“For most of the lap, you’re not really pushing – then, halfway down the Kemmel straight, it suddenly gets wetter. It’s a different type of asphalt, which doesn’t drain as well. As soon as you hit that, you feel the car slow down and then it starts to spin its wheels.

“Hopefully, the worst conditions have blown over and we can get down to business tomorrow. It’s been such a long break that we just want to get out there and enjoy ourselves.”

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“It’s hardly surprising to be here in Spa and find that the weather is cold, wet and misty. Unfortunately, that means that Formula 1’s much anticipated return after the summer break has been effectively pushed back by 24 hours because none of the drivers were able to set representative times out there today.

“Despite the limited running, we were able to conduct a little bit of useful work, evaluating the performance of our aerodynamic upgrades and looking at tyre performance. With the field so closely covered, even the tiniest scrap of data can be useful.

“Finally, while today didn’t offer much to the many thousands of Formula 1 fans who loyally packed the grandstands and hillsides of Spa-Francorchamps, it’s worth remembering that McLaren’s past reverberates around this mighty circuit. Yesterday would have been the 75th birthday of our founder, Bruce McLaren, who scored McLaren’s first-ever grand prix victory at this circuit back in 1968. In many ways, the McLaren story is interwoven with Spa’s post-war history, and it’s fantastic to be here again this weekend to continue that legacy.”

~ Official photos and report courtesy of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes ~

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