The fabulous setting of Spa-Francorchamps looked particularly lovely in this afternoon’s sunshine, but no one at Scuderia Toro Rosso had time to admire the view, as the team had a very busy work programme to get through. The timetable was complicated by the fact that not much running was completed by any of the 22 drivers in the morning, because of the track conditions, which were neither fish nor fowl, with some bits dry, other bits wet and others still just plain greasy.
Nevertheless, today’s two sessions combined can be seen as a positive three hours of track time, with Jean-Eric completing a race distance plus one lap (45 in total.) The Frenchman enjoyed a trouble-free day on his way to an impressive fifth place on the FP2 time sheet, so, as he said himself, the STR8’s one lap pace looks good. With the need to test at the races in order to try and keep developing the cars through the season, the teams have to use Friday’s session as something of a test bed and it seems that today, the direction Daniel went in was not the best one, but his 30 laps still produced useful data. The most important aspect of this first day back at work after the holiday is that everything went smoothly, which is the best way to start. Tomorrow’s qualifying is the first highlight of what is always an exciting weekend and at the moment, given Spa’s notorious micro-climate, it’s hard to predict with any accuracy what the weather might be like. Wet or dry, we will be hoping to continue our run, which currently stands at five Grands Prix, of getting at least one car into the top ten on the grid.
Our friends at Red Bull Racing seem to be the dominant force in Belgium with Sebastian Vettel, notwithstanding the new look blonde highlights in his hair, quickest, ahead of team-mate Mark Webber. These two were the only drivers to get under the 1m 50s barrier today. Completing the top three is Lotus’ Romain Grosjean, clearly on a high after becoming a father during the summer break. Fourth is Felipe Massa for Ferrari, while behind our Frenchman, Kimi Raikkonen completes the top six in the other Lotus.