Belfast Telegraph

Lewis Hamilton blasts out warning to Rosberg

By Ian Parkes

Lewis Hamilton produced a bruising practice performance that put even Formula One title rival and team-mate Nico Rosberg in the shade.

Hamilton, claiming to be rejuvenated and reinvigorated following the sport's summer break, underlined such remarks by comfortably topping the timesheet ahead of tomorrow's Belgian Grand Prix.

Hamilton, 11 points adrift of Mercedes team-mate Rosberg with eight races remaining, conjured a time of one minute 49.189 seconds for the seven-kilometre Spa-Francorchamps circuit, finishing a staggering six tenths of a second clear of the German.

Rosberg had edged Hamilton in FP1 by a mere 0.097secs as Pirelli's medium-compound rubber – the slightly slower tyre this weekend – took centre stage.

But come the soft-tyre runs in FP2, Hamilton crushed Rosberg, who ran wide on one of his final hot-lap attempts, scattering gravel over the renowned track.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was third quickest in both sessions, at least suggesting a podium is on the cards tomorrow even if both Mercedes run reliably, which has not been the case of late.

Alonso was three quarters of a second down on Hamilton, and the only other driver to finish within a second of the 29-year-old Briton.

Williams, considerably off the pace in FP1 but suggesting they had far more in the tank as they are expected to be Mercedes' closest rivals this weekend, showed a little more of their hand in FP2.

Felipe Massa was fourth fastest, but 1.138secs in arrears, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas a further two places and 0.340secs adrift.

Sandwiched in between the Williams pair, and suggesting McLaren are edging ever slowly towards respectability, was Jenson Button, albeit with the 34-year-old nearly 1.5secs down.

Belfast Telegraph

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