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Belgian GP: Practice notes - Mercedes

NEWS STORY
26/08/2016

Nico topped the morning session with Lewis P2. Nico was sixth fastest in the afternoon session, Lewis thirteenth. Nico ran the Medium and Supersoft compound tyre in the morning session, the Medium and Soft in the afternoon. Lewis ran the Soft and Supersoft compound tyre in the morning session, the Medium and Soft in the afternoon. Both drivers also ran a prototype Pirelli tyre, with Nico completing three runs with the 'Halo' concept fitted to his car in the morning session.

Nico Rosberg: The team have done a great job on the halo. It doesn't disturb me when driving. I could go fast straight away and even set the best time of the session with it this morning, so I think that was a success. After that, car-wise we seem to be quick. The grid is a bit all over the place this afternoon with people doing different things with the tyres. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out in the race. Long run pace will be important, as you can overtake here. I don't know how we're looking yet - we'll need to look into that. But there was a lot of tyre degradation, so managing that on Sunday will be important.

Lewis Hamilton: A straightforward day for me but a tough one for the guys in the garage with the engine change. Massive respect and a big thanks to them for all their hard work. It was actually quite tough to look after the tyres out there as the pressures are so high. But everyone is in the same position and it looks like we're all experiencing the same thing. The important thing is that we got through our programme smoothly today and can start focusing on the rest of the weekend.

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical): We've seen unusually warm conditions at Spa today. Track temperatures exceeded 40 degrees this afternoon, which is almost unheard of! We managed to complete a full programme as planned - including fitting two new engines for Lewis, which will consign him to the back of the grid after penalties have been applied. On track, it was a rather complicated day in terms of relative run plans. We've seen more variety in tyre selections than ever before here, with the prototype tyre also thrown into the mix. The time sheets are difficult to interpret, with each team running different compounds at different times. From the data points we have, it seems to be very close between ourselves, Red Bull, Ferrari and also Force India on both single lap and long run pace. Clearly, our focus with Lewis today has been on race pace given that he will start from the back of the grid come what may. With Nico, it has been a balance of qualifying and race pace. Degradation has been a big issue on all three compounds - particularly on the rear tyres. We have a lot of work to do tonight if we are to get Nico on pole with a clear shot at the win and also make the best of Lewis starting from the back.

Check out our Friday gallery from Spa, here.

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