Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Schumacher quickest as rain falls in first practice

2011 Belgian GP first practice

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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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Keith Collantine
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34 comments on “Schumacher quickest as rain falls in first practice”

  1. I’d like to see that special helmet. Will Schumacher wear it in the race, or is it like the McLaren overalls that Button and Hamilton only wear on Fridays?

    1. saturdays

    2. I quite like the helmet. Seems its actual gold and plenty of it. Looks good with 1991 seven stars 2011 on the side. Guess he’ll wear it for this weekend only.

      This was a bit of vintage Schumacher by the way. Immediately took Eau Rouge flat out without a question and overtook his teammate to go faster. Thats how I remember him from the good old days, setting a perfect lap on his first lap already. Sad that its not going to last the weekend but I’ll stay positive :-P

      1. To be honest, the helmet itself looks better gold than in the red design, but I would prefer to see something like his old German flag design back. And it is a bit sad that the yellow bits+helmet=ROS, red bit+helmet=MSC that always makes them easy to distinguish is thus gone.

        1. Having seen that video below, I now why this one is a better one than the red: on the red, the black doesn’t stand out, and so the design becomes unclear, just red, with some black pattern. On this one, it actually looks pretty good and clean. He should consider going to a brighter, vermilion, red (or is that too vodafone?).

        2. I’d have preferred a helmet reminescent of his 1991 one, but at least it isn’t his usual one.

      2. If he has a good weekend, maybe he can keep this helmet!

        1. yeah, I guess he is a bit supersitious about numbers :-)

          Last year in the winter testing, he tried a black crash helmet…. didn’t work it may seem

    3. There’s a picture on here, on the page of a german newspaper.


      Apparently it was the idea of the helmet manufacturer, as Schumacher gave them a lot of input for the development of new helmets.
      There’s 2 grams of real gold worked into the design.

        1. god those gold leaves are delicate! brilliant job there, literally!

        2. wow, that is amazing. A gold plated helmet! Looks really nice, I like the design a lot more than his regular one.

  2. Hard to read…

    1. Nay, impossible :D

      1. Haha, I have to agree!

    2. Yep.

      Typical adventurous session in Spa.

      I just took my time watching the scenery, which is fantastic (of course this is my favourite track as well – and I know quite a lot, including non-F1 ones like Laguna Seca; amazing but doesn’t come close). Overall I concentrated on the track; what changed, what not, what are they doing differently to my driving in GP4 etc.

  3. Looks like Renault did just the right thing in replacing Heidfeld with Senna…

    1. Be realistic, It was Senna’s first time in this version of the car, First time in the wet in this car, First time on the intermediate tires since February(If he used them then) It was always going to happen to someone and in fact it happened to two people.

      1. Bring on the Senna bashing!
        Seriously guys, give him some time. Rate him at the end of the season, not after his 3rd outing in the car (testing, Hungary FP1).

        1. True give him time, but it was the easiest F1 bet I ever made, so obvious he would end up in the barrier lol.
          I could hardly watch during his out lap.

          In his defence it was tricky conditions.

  4. So ignoring the times MercGP did on the dry track, it was Button fastest followed by Vettel (they ran at the exact time). Lewis probably would have been there too but he ran on a slightly damper track.

    1. It was more like who run later.

      We don’t have much more information as to who is beginning to develop the quickest car this weekend than we had before FP1.

      We already knew it would be close between Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari, but early signs – based on press releases – are that the two England-based team have a slight, slight edge.

      We can never know for sure though, Fernando can always raise his game.

    2. How dare you ignore what MercGP did, MSC is back in a big way ;-)

  5. he will win now for sure!

        1. +1, I can dream right?

          1. I felt really sorry for Bruno for that. It was a simple mistake and many far more experienced drivers have made that style crash before (Seb has once this season in FP, Mark Korea 2010, Alonso Spa 2010 etc).

            I hope that doesn’t take all the shine off his mid field season debut.

          2. I hope that off track moment doesn’t ruin Bruno’s confidence, on the contrary, just make him cautious during the race.

      1. Schumacher

  6. Any update on Senna’s Renault? If it will be fixed for P2?

  7. Even if it’s quite a useless statistic at this point, must feel good for Schumacher to see his name on top of the tables on the day of his 20 year anniversary.

  8. in wet conditions
    fastest sector 1 times – Adrian Sutil 34.418
    fastest sector 2 times – Adrian Sutil 55.676
    fastest sector 3 times – Jenson Button 32.225

    too early to predict anything if the conditions keep changing then it will lot depend on team’s ability to react to those conditions & drivers ability to adapt to the evolving track & weather conditions…

    looking forward to FP2.

  9. Very nice for Schumacher.

    He knows as much as the rest of us that it’s not really indicative of much, especially given the weather but nevertheless, a good result for him.

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