Eau Rouge is a corner once more

2014 Belgian Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2014At one of the fastest and most dramatic circuits on the Formula One calendar, the new generation of F1 cars are for once close to the levels of performance seen last year.

Lewis Hamilton topped the second practice session with a best time of 1’49.189 – two-tenths of a second quicker than the top time seen on Friday last year.

The high power output of the new turbocharged engines and the diminished effect of reduced downforce levels at the track goes some way to explaining why the current cars look quicker here. But the most significant reason is likely to be that Pirelli have brought a softer range of tyres – the soft and medium, rather than the medium and hard seen last year.

Remember that in Bahrain, the only other track this year where the ‘option’ tyre was a softer compound than that which was used in 2013, the current cars were also much closer to last year’s pace.

Although the lap times may be similar, the way they are achieving it has changed. In particular the approach to one of the circuit’s most famous corners has changed. The plunge and crest through Eau Rouge and Raidillon is no longer the ‘easy flat in all conditions’ affair it had become during the V8 era.

“With our low-downforce set-up, it’s, er, interesting,” said Jenson Button, who was quickest of all through the first sector which includes the famous corner.

“You’ve got oversteer at more than 300kph, and I admit I let out a few screams inside my crash helmet through there on a couple of laps, especially on high fuel.”

McLaren had the fourth-quickest car on Friday, but were a second and a half off the flying Mercedes, most of which they are losing in the middle part of the lap. “In the first sector we’re quickest, in the third sector we’re a tenth or so off the pace, but in the middle sector we’re almost a second down,” said Button.

“So we’ll have to work on getting the balance a bit better, and hopefully we can improve in the areas we’re already strong in, too.”

“On the [soft] tyre, I’m very happy; on the [medium], Kevin is happier than I am, so we’ve got to work out the reasons for that this evening.,” he added.

Ferrari have often begun Fridays in 2014 close to Mercedes then dropped back as the weekend progresses. Despite ending Friday as ‘best of the rest’, Fernando Alonso still doubts it will be a successful race for them.

“At this track and at Monza, engine performance counts for a lot,” he said. “We know there is no magic solution but we will nevertheless try to optimise everything. The car behaved as we expected from our simulations and that is definitely something positive.”

Longest stint comparison – second practice

This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint:

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2014drivercolours.csv

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Sebastian Vettel
Daniel Ricciardo 114.511 114.774 115.247 115.302 115.686 119.293 115.334
Lewis Hamilton 114.85 116.011 114.555 116.169 114.428 114.795 115.449 114.528 115.62 115.761
Nico Rosberg 114.592 114.728 114.262 115.206 114.474 115.152 117.7 115.731 124.693 115.942 116.242
Fernando Alonso 116.377 115.022 115.945 116.123 115.399
Kimi Raikkonen 112.234 112.77 113.702
Romain Grosjean 120.831 116.59 117.244 116.243 116.119 116.294 117.497
Pastor Maldonado
Jenson Button 115.99 116.391 116.952 116.119 116.458 116.146 116.166 116.033
Kevin Magnussen 116.234 115.877 116.657 116.368 116.945 116.467 118.056 117.757 117.941
Nico Hulkenberg 117.376 116.885 117.13 117.313 116.825 116.961 117.37 118.325 117.717 117.007 116.913 116.665
Sergio Perez 115.778 115.364 116.853 116.782 117.716 116.388 116.192 116.34 116.922
Adrian Sutil 118.463 117.225 117.341 117.115 116.856 116.753 117.333 117.136 117.784 118.465
Esteban Gutierrez 114.979 119.384 114.131 121.743 113.955
Jean-Eric Vergne 115.932 115.391 115.618 115.885 116.556 116.185 119.038 116.38 115.894 115.702 116.193 116.094 116.632
Daniil Kvyat 116.486 117.62 116.704 117.152 116.687 116.55 117.099 117.222
Felipe Massa 114.326 115.289 117.101 114.889 115.281 115.166 116.469 117.191 123.494 116.831
Valtteri Bottas 117.12 116.607 116.227 116.014 116.041 115.994 115.839 116.513 116.709 116.75
Jules Bianchi 112.776 128.566 112.811
Max Chilton 114.04 119.792
Marcus Ericsson 117.956 118.293 118.539 119.277 118.555 118.06 118.507
Andre Lotterer 120.195 119.153 118.69 118.719 118.857 118.748 119.38 119.649

Sector times and ultimate lap times – second practice

Pos No. Driver Car S1 S2 S3 Ultimate Gap Deficit to best
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 31.171 (2) 48.728 (1) 29.290 (1) 1’49.189 0.000
2 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 31.206 (3) 49.173 (4) 29.414 (2) 1’49.793 0.604 0.000
3 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 31.489 (7) 48.845 (2) 29.489 (4) 1’49.823 0.634 0.107
4 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 31.220 (4) 49.526 (6) 29.581 (7) 1’50.327 1.138 0.000
5 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 31.161 (1) 49.828 (10) 29.670 (8) 1’50.659 1.470 0.000
6 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 31.599 (10) 49.582 (7) 29.496 (5) 1’50.677 1.488 0.000
7 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 31.879 (13) 49.162 (3) 29.684 (9) 1’50.725 1.536 0.000
8 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 31.561 (9) 49.936 (12) 29.432 (3) 1’50.929 1.740 0.048
9 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 31.499 (8) 49.753 (9) 29.722 (11) 1’50.974 1.785 0.100
10 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 31.287 (5) 50.149 (14) 29.577 (6) 1’51.013 1.824 0.064
11 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 31.858 (12) 49.586 (8) 29.939 (13) 1’51.383 2.194 0.000
12 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 31.721 (11) 50.011 (13) 29.692 (10) 1’51.424 2.235 0.026
13 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 31.433 (6) 50.267 (15) 29.771 (12) 1’51.471 2.282 0.102
14 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 32.131 (18) 49.500 (5) 29.942 (14) 1’51.573 2.384 0.661
15 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 31.898 (14) 49.899 (11) 30.207 (18) 1’52.004 2.815 0.192
16 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 31.952 (16) 50.456 (16) 30.020 (15) 1’52.428 3.239 0.348
17 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 31.949 (15) 51.599 (18) 30.137 (17) 1’53.685 4.496 0.270
18 45 Andre Lotterer Caterham-Renault 32.249 (21) 51.670 (20) 30.108 (16) 1’54.027 4.838 0.066
19 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 32.230 (20) 51.429 (17) 30.381 (20) 1’54.040 4.851 0.000
20 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 32.083 (17) 51.646 (19) 30.321 (19) 1’54.050 4.861 0.000
21 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 32.211 (19) 55.251 (21) 30.980 (21) 1’58.442 9.253

Speed trap – second practice

# Driver Car Engine Max speed (kph) Gap
1 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Renault 309.7
2 22 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 309 0.7
3 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 308.6 1.1
4 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 308.5 1.2
5 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams Mercedes 306.9 2.8
6 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes Mercedes 306.6 3.1
7 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 306.4 3.3
8 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren Mercedes 305.5 4.2
9 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 305.3 4.4
10 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari 302.7 7
11 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 302.6 7.1
12 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Renault 301 8.7
13 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso Renault 300.7 9
14 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia Ferrari 299.8 9.9
15 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus Renault 298.8 10.9
16 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber Ferrari 298.5 11.2
17 4 Max Chilton Marussia Ferrari 297.5 12.2
18 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari 297.1 12.6
19 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber Ferrari 294.4 15.3
20 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham Renault 293.9 15.8
21 45 Andre Lotterer Caterham Renault 289.2 20.5

Complete practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 Total laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’51.674 1’49.189 50
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’51.577 1’49.793 53
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’51.805 1’49.930 35
4 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’53.968 1’50.327 44
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’52.404 1’50.659 52
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1’53.172 1’50.677 46
7 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1’53.594 1’50.725 46
8 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1’52.972 1’50.977 35
9 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1’52.922 1’51.074 54
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’52.937 1’51.077 48
11 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1’54.189 1’51.383 46
12 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1’53.703 1’51.450 43
13 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’52.903 1’51.573 52
14 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’53.597 1’52.196 45
15 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’52.818 1’52.234 35
16 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1’55.782 1’52.776 42
17 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’53.369 11
18 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’53.955 7
19 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1’54.040 18
20 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1’57.977 1’54.050 54
21 Andre Lotterer Caterham-Renault 1’57.886 1’54.093 48
22 Giedo van der Garde Sauber-Ferrari 1’54.335 16
23 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1’55.336 23
24 Alexander Rossi Marussia-Ferrari 1’57.232 20

2014 Belgian Grand Prix

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Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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37 comments on Eau Rouge is a corner once more

  1. hunocsi (@hunocsi) said on 22nd August 2014, 18:08

    Why is the speed trap on the top of Eau Rouge? I thought it was supposed to find the maximum achievable speed, which would be at the end of the Kemmel straight, so it’s not too representative. And I would have been very interested in the top speeds, from what we’ve seen on TV the top speed today was around 335 km/h, maybe in race condition and slipstream 350 km/h is achievable?

    • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 22nd August 2014, 18:15

      @hunocsi Not always. That isn’t what the definition of a speed trap is, we have seen it placed on the pit straight (not always the longest) or generally after tricky corners before.

    • Bleu (@bleu) said on 22nd August 2014, 18:22

      Normally they measure the speed at the end of each sector. With that happening at the end of longest straight, they have to place extra speed trap somewhere else.

      • hunocsi (@hunocsi) said on 22nd August 2014, 18:41

        @bleu Fair enough, but where can I see the speed trap for S1? Because I can’t find anything about it neither on fia.com or formula1.com, and with the dumbed down interface of the Live Timing on formula1.com it’s not on this year, and I can’t use the mobile app as I use Windows Phone.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 22nd August 2014, 23:46

      I never in my wildest dreams expected to see a RBR top the list for the speed trap at any race this year let alone Spa, I expect a little more wing will be added for the race.

      • hunocsi (@hunocsi) said on 23rd August 2014, 1:46

        The speed trap is just after the exit of Eau Rouge or Raidillion, whatever its name is, so not that surprising that the RB leads on corner exit speed.

  2. KimiFTW said on 22nd August 2014, 18:15

    They take Eau Rouge flat out every year in every kind of weather.

    Hint: Eau Rouge is the lefthand kink at the bottom (where HAM is in the picture), the uphill part is called Raidillion. 3 3 3 guesses what Raidillion means ;)

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd August 2014, 18:25

      I’m not getting into a boring, pedantic row about semantics. Most people refer to the sequence as Eau Rouge, so for the purposes of the headline that will serve adequately well.

      • KimiFTW said on 22nd August 2014, 18:55

        But most people get it wrong.

        If u know why they call the first part “Eau Rouge” and why they call the next part “Raidillon”, then u can never ever get it wrong again because the meaning makes sense

        • Bruno (@brunes) said on 22nd August 2014, 18:57

          Why don’t you enlighten us with reason behind those names?

          • Mcquiz (@mcquiz) said on 22nd August 2014, 19:10

            Eau Rouge refers to the river of Eau Rouge that the track crosses at the first part of the sequence, the light left. The rest is actually Raidillon. But nobody really cares about that except for some pedantic tweebs like KimiFTW here.

          • KimiFTW said on 22nd August 2014, 19:11

            Eau Rouge is the lefthand kink at the bottom where the river Eau Rouge flows underneath. U can still see it if u go left towards the old borderpost (long gone) and the hairpin.

            Raidillon means steep slope. It’s like a wall when u go downhill towards it.
            That meas, lefthand turn is the name of the river, righthand turn is the steep slope. Easy peasy:)

          • Patrick (@paeschli) said on 23rd August 2014, 19:24

            After seeing this image, you won’t forget where the name comes from :P

            To put it simply, it’s named Raidillion from the moment the track starts to go uphill, thus the name steep slope or Raidillon :)

        • Eau Rouge literally means red water but I have no idea why the corner is named that.
          Raidillon is French for steep slope, which is pretty straightforward.

          You don’t have to be a jerk just because you happen to speak French you know.

          • Graham (@guitargraham) said on 23rd August 2014, 3:53

            its “red water” because thats literally the colour of the stream. guessing there’s a lot of iron oxide in the silt.

      • vishy (@vishy) said on 22nd August 2014, 19:49

        KimiFTW was only commenting, that is what you what you want don’t you? There was no need to give such a sharp reaction.

    • In_Silico (@insilico) said on 22nd August 2014, 20:54

      I think it’s good to share this video :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fX5dnFbI4tA

    • KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 22nd August 2014, 21:14

      I have to add that almost every map refers the left hander at the top of the hill as being Raidillon, meaning the right hander is actually nameless.

  3. David BR2 said on 22nd August 2014, 18:19

    You’ve got oversteer at more than 300kph, and I admit I let out a few screams inside my crash helmet through there on a couple of laps, especially on high fuel.

    Imagine if we could hear this stuff! Drivers screaming, cursing, humming, Kimi wondering aloud what flavour ice cream he’s going to eat…

  4. Custard said on 22nd August 2014, 18:46

    Bottas’ long run consistency… Wow. Mercedes looking stronger than ever! Big well done to all the staff at Brackley. Lewis looks strong but he did also at Montreal, Austria and Hungary… So nothing is predictable

  5. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 22nd August 2014, 19:11

    So Button screams today for the oversteer, and yesterday most drivers (Button included) said cars now are easier to drive?
    Help me find the truth please

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 22nd August 2014, 19:27

      @omarr-pepper
      The new cars are easier to drive from the physical point of view, the decrease of the cornering speed which is due to the loss of downforce and the restrictions on the engine power (fuel flow) reduces the G forces. The thing is due to the loss of downforce an old style fast corner like Eau Rouge that distinguishes men from boys is no more taken flat, and unfortunately we don’t have many corners like that on the calendar, that’s why driving the 2014 cars is easier than the previous cars in general

    • graham228221 (@graham228221) said on 22nd August 2014, 19:44

      I think they were talking about the physicality of driving an F1 car, in terms of the G forces and sheer strength needed to drive the cars.

      “difficulty” in terms of managing power or oversteer is different – more mental (reflexes and bravery I imagine) as well as more refined throttle/steering input.

  6. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 22nd August 2014, 19:12

    You’ve got oversteer at more than 300kph

    Not bad for a Ferrari fan, Alonso last year had a moment of oversteer out of Eau Rouge at 289 kph and managed to correct it without lifting the throttle and Raikkonen is oversteering by default

    • Patrick (@paeschli) said on 22nd August 2014, 20:28

      Nice save! I hope we’ll see the old Kimi this weekend.

    • That is an amazing save by Alonso. While watching the video, try repeatedly clicking the pause button to stop/restart the video and see how quick Alsonso’s hands move from turning left to countersteering to straight again. I can barely click the little pause button faster than he did that full maneuver of the steering wheel, and I’m sitting in the comfort of my chair going 0kph and he’s basically in a car that is sliding towards a wall at 300kph.

  7. jon snow said on 22nd August 2014, 19:31

    Kimi on high downforce? I suppose it’s not the smartest set up around here. He’d be sitting duck on Kemmel straight…

    Or is it just he can’t do proper lap in low fuel because of another problems?

    • KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 22nd August 2014, 21:17

      Technical problems for Kimi in both practice sessions. Also, in FP1 (according to MTV3) Kimi was testing new front wing that might be used in Monza, so he was on a very low DF setup in that session for some time.

  8. mantresx (@mantresx) said on 22nd August 2014, 22:02

    @stefmeister Are you going to have onboards with telemetry for this race?
    In free practice I noticed only a Lotus and a FI trough Eau Rouge had the telemetry on, the Lotus was flat at around 290 kph but the FI had to lift as it was going some 10kph faster, it would be very interesting to compare all cars to see which ones can go flat out.

    • StefMeister (@stefmeister) said on 23rd August 2014, 0:03

      @mantresx Yeah, I always have the FOM OnBoard-Mix on a 2nd screen for all sessions & that has the telemetry on it.

      I was paying extra attention to the throttle trace today when cars went through Eau Rouge because because of how interested people were about if it was going to be flat or not.
      Although to be honest its something i’ve watched a little closer this year anyway to see how the new power units & all that extra torque people were talking about pre-season was affecting how drivers put the power down.

  9. Warren2185 (@warren2185) said on 22nd August 2014, 23:12

    There were some great slow motion drifts caught by the cameras in FP2 today going through Eau Rouge, or was it Raidillon, or Parabolica, or Rascasse. Now I’m totally confused so I’ll just make it easy and say Eau Rouge. But it was cool to see the cars drift through there. Great stuff

  10. StefMeister (@stefmeister) said on 22nd August 2014, 18:26

    I also noticed that on the exit of Paul Frère (Used to be called Stavelot 2) when the power started to kick in there was a lot of drivers getting sideways with wheelspin.

    That used to be an easy acceleration zone with the V8s so the extra torque & everything else from the new V6 Turbo power units has made that an area where drivers are really having to be careful with the throttle.

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