Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Schumacher quickest as rain falls in first practice

2011 Belgian GP first practicePosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011
Michael Schumacher set the fastest lap before ran hit Spa

Michael Schumacher marked the 20th anniversary of his first F1 race by heading the times in the first practice session.

The Mercedes pair were the only drivers to set a time before heavy rain hit the track. Schumacher, wearing a special gold helmet, headed the times with a 1’54.355, Rosberg managing a 1’54.829.

A little over five minutes into the session morning sunshine was replaced by heavy rain. The cars remained in the pits for half an hour as the traditional Spa rain doused the circuit.

Once the rain had blown away Sebastian Vettel was the first driver to return to the circuit. Surprisingly, he chose a set of intermediates.

Lewis Hamilton did likewise when he came out shortly afterwards. Like Vettel, he did one installation lap and returned to the pits. His McLaren twitched wildly as he tried to put the power down.

The next drivers preferred wet weather tyres as they took to the track for more extended runs.

But inevitably the trick conditions caught a few drivers out and the first of them was Bruno Senna, taking over from Nick Heidfeld at Renault. He spun backwards into the barrier at turn nine, damaging the back of the R31.

He wasn’t the only driver to do so. With 15 minutes left to go Paul di Resta skidded his Force India sideways into the same barrier. It caused less damage, but the session had to be red-flagged while the car was recovered.

Other drivers had less damaging moments: Schumacher ran wide at Pouhon and Jarno Trulli had a couple of spins in his Lotus.

It resumed with seven minutes left and most of the remaining drivers returned to the track to set times in the best conditions the track had been in since the beginning of the session.

Hamilton’s first full lap put him third but he was pegged back by Jenson Button, who set a 2’02.740 with his final effort.

Vettel also edged Hamilton with a 2’04.301, while Adrian Sutil put Force India sixth with a 2’04.663.

Felipe Massa was the fastest Ferrari on a 2’04.728. Rubens Barrichello, with the last lap of thesesssion, put his Williams eighth in front of Jaime Alguersuari and Kamui Kobayashi.

Pos. Car Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’54.355 13
2 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’54.829 0.474 15
3 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2’02.740 8.385 8
4 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 2’03.752 9.397 10
5 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 2’04.301 9.946 7
6 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 2’04.663 10.308 18
7 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 2’04.728 10.373 10
8 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 2’05.391 11.036 12
9 19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2’06.583 12.228 16
10 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 2’06.886 12.531 15
11 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2’07.055 12.700 12
12 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 2’07.481 13.126 15
13 21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 2’08.233 13.878 14
14 18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2’08.239 13.884 14
15 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 2’08.918 14.563 10
16 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 2’09.792 15.437 8
17 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 2’12.278 17.923 13
18 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 2’12.389 18.034 10
19 25 Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 2’12.772 18.417 13
20 15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 2’13.058 18.703 8
21 20 Karun Chandhok Lotus-Renault 2’13.090 18.735 11
22 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 2’13.601 19.246 10
23 9 Bruno Senna Renault 2’14.340 19.985 7
24 22 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 2’14.933 20.578 11

2011 Belgian Grand Prix

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Image ?? Daimler