The European Grand Prix got off without a…well, actually there were a few hitches. After Free Practice 1 (FP1), it was determined that 90% of the tires were coming back to the Pirelli with cuts in them. The culprit? Loose bolts in the curbing (Kerbing for our British readers) and this prompted a serious delay canceling the GP2 session in order to fix the circuit.
While Lewis Hamilton topped the time sheet for Fp1, he then set about doing the same thing in FP2 even though turn 6 still had loose curbing. Hi teammate, Nico Rosberg, experienced a stoppage on track with 20 minutes to go in the session with a reported “drive” problem.
The day didn’t end well for Ferrari running 8th and 13th until Kimi Raikkonen had an MGU-K issue that locked his rear wheels at Turn 4 and he promptly parked the car there. Vettel was radioed back to the pits to be safe. The Ferrari’s were near 2s off the pace of the Mercedes team and clearly the track is favoring the Mercedes power unit with the top five position all powered by Merc.
McLaren seemed to be doing relatively well even with that long front straight and Jenson Button slotted 9th in FP2 while his teammate had an issue which meant he spent he majority of the time in the garage getting repaired.
As for safety? The track is certainly different with Valtteri Bottas reaching 218mph on the long straight and certainly the Twitter-verse was ripe with comments about safety and the circuit. The challenge for me is the incredibly high speeds on what is effectively a street circuit but it’s a very long one—the second longest track on the calendar behind Spa Francorchamps—and at those speeds in those confines, it does seem like it could be dangerous.
|3||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m45.336s||1.113s||37|
|5||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m45.920s||1.697s||37|
|6||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m46.027s||1.804s||35|
|7||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m46.068s||1.845s||35|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m46.293s||2.070s||32|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m46.744s||2.521s||35|