F1 2013 Belgian Grand Prix: Hamilton with work to do ahead of qualifying

PUBLISHED: 17:32 23 August 2013 | UPDATED: 14:21 24 August 2013

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton at the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton at the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix

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FORMULA 1 racer Lewis Hamilton was off the pace in the first two practice sessions for the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.

Belgian Grand Prix

* Race distance: 44 laps (308.052km/191.424 miles)

* Start time: 14:00 (local)/12:00 (GMT)

* Circuit length: 7.004km/4.352 miles

* 2012 winner: Jenson Button (McLaren MP4-27) 44 laps in 1hr29m08.530s (207.344km/h)

* 2012 pole: Jenson Button (McLaren MP4-27) 1m47.573s (234.393km/h)

* Lap record: Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren MP4-19) 1m45.108s (238.931km/h)

The 28-year-old Mercedes AMG Petronas star from Hertfordshire was 15th fastest in first practice at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium today (Friday).

The Hungarian GP winner was then P12 in second practice, as Sebastian Vettel clocked the fastest lap of the day ahead of Red Bull Racing teammate Mark Webber.

Hamilton recorded a time of 1m 57.358s in a damp first session and improved to 1m 50.751s in the dry afternoon session. Nico Rosberg was P5 and P9 in the other Mercedes.

“We have some work ahead of us this evening to get the car feeling just right, but overall today was a reasonable start to the weekend,” said the Hertfordshire-born 2008 F1 world champion.

Hamilton and Mercedes colleague Rosberg completed the first two practice sessions in quite differing track conditions at Spa.

The Mercedes team completed a total of 80 laps of running during today’s two 90-minute sessions.

The primary technical objective was to comprehensively evaluate new low-drag aerodynamic developments specifically for the Belgian circuit.

Both drivers completed high-fuel running on each tyre, Lewis ran longest on the prime compound and Nico on the option

Lewis Hamilton on track ahead of the 2013 Belgian Grand PrixLewis Hamilton on track ahead of the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix

Rosberg said: “It’s great to be back at the Spa circuit, particularly as our car is more competitive this year, and it feels such an improvement to drive through the quick corners here.

“I’m not entirely sure where we are compared to the others but it looks like it will be quite a tough challenge and, of course, it is a completely different track here to at the last race.

“Today went pretty well for us though and it could be an interesting weekend, particularly with the mixed weather conditions that are predicted.”

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said: “We had a good day overall. There were lots of new parts to test, we got that work done successfully and once the drivers had settled into their race simulation runs this afternoon, the lap times looked pretty respectable.

“We still have some work to do on our single lap pace but we think we know what needs to be done there in order to improve.”

Director Toto Wolff added: “It was a decent day for the team and we completed all the programmes that we had planned today, in spite of the mixed conditions in the first session.

“The long-run pace looked good but we need to analyse why we were losing time in sector one over a single timed lap.

“The other factor we will have to consider this evening is the weather, as the forecasts suggest there will be rain around on Saturday and Sunday, which could influence some of the compromises we make in terms of set-up.”

Qualifying for the 2013 Grand Prix of Belgium starts at 1pm on Saturday.


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