Practice 1 saw Hamilton top the timesheets with a 1.24.670, leading the way from teammate Rosberg who put in a 1.25.133. Much of focus was on the new Mercedes engine, one which the team had spent all their remaining development tokens on, describing the move as “tactical” to allow more focused development for next season.
That statement alone should have worried the rest of the field. As usual, Vettel was the closest challenger to the Silver Arrows in P1, even after a brief spin at the first chicane. He clocked in at just over a second behind Rosberg. Third place is likely to be the most the ever faithful Tifosi will have to cheer about this weekend with Raikkonen clocking a 1.26.7, half a second slower than his teammate.
The full times from P1 are as follows.
- Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:24.670
- Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:25.133
- Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:26.258
- Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:26.612
- Sergio Perez, Force India, 1:26.730
- Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:26.783
- Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:26.922
- Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:26.936
- Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:27.075
- Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, 1:27.118
- Felipe Nasr, Sauber, 1:27.232
- Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, 1:27.275
- Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:27.454
- Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 1:27.591
- Jolyon Palmer, Lotus, 1:27.669
- Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1:27.907
- Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:28.023
- Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:28.423
- Will Stevens, Manor, 1:29.853
- Roberto Merhi, Manor, 1:29.911
The status quo remained the same during this afternoon’s P2, and you can bet good money it remaining the same through Saturday too. Hamilton led Rosberg and Vettel followed by the Force India pairing of Perez and Hulkenberg, who perhaps not surprisingly continued the trend of Mercedes powered cars dominating the top ten. All cars but the two Ferrari’s inside the top ten were powered by the German manufacturer.
With potential rain forecast for the weekend, Mercedes, who let’s face it, really haven’t looked the best under pressure this year may still have at least part of their work cut out, and the potential for Ferrari or Williams to spring a surprise. However with Both Red Bull’s experiencing a torrid day, and due to start from the back, barring any major dramas, on the back of today a Mercedes 1-2 looks highly likely.
The full times from P2 are as follows.
- L Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:24.279
- 2.N Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:24.300
- S Vettel, Ferrari, 1:25.038
- S Perez, Force India, 1:25.038
- N Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:25.325
- K Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:25.380
- R Grosjean, Lotus, 1:25.497
- P Maldonado, Lotus, 1:25.513
- V Bottas, Williams, 1:25.647
- F Massa, Williams, 1:25.891
- F Nasr, Sauber, 1:26.114
- M Ericsson, Sauber, 1:26.133
- D Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:26.222
- M Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 1:26.454
- C Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1:26.641
- F Alonso, McLaren, 1:26.966
- W Stevens, Manor, 1:28.201
- R Merhi, Manor, 1:28.439
- J Button, McLaren, 1:28.471
- D Kvyat, Red Bull, 1:28.723
Predicted Starting Grid for Tomorrow (based on Friday’s practice positions and engine penalties)
We’ll be back tomorrow evening with the round up from Saturday at the 2015 Italian Grand Prix.