Mercedes Nico Rosberg has given his approval to the new Halo cockpit protection system, which he was able to trial in free practice at Spa on Friday morning.
While other drivers also got a chance to try out the new device, Rosberg was the only one to go back out and complete flying laps with the Halo attached. One of the laps was fast enough to ultimately top the session.
“It was good to try it and they’ve done a great job with it because it doesn’t disturb me at all when I’m driving and increases the safety a lot,” said Rosberg later.
“I know it’s not nice looking from the outside, of course, it doesn’t make the cars prettier but if it’s such a big step in safety then I think it’s a good thing.”
He confirmed that there wasn’t even an issue with the Halo when running through Eau Rouge was no problem in terms of visibility.
“No problem at all, you don’t even notice the top part. I think they can even come down with that because LMP1 is lower anyways. So for sure they could go lower, but whatever.”
Rosberg had a quieter time of things in the afternoon session and was only sixth fastest, after deciding not to use up a set of supersoft tyres in session.
“Today was just about practicing for the race and tomorrow morning is when we’ll look at qualifying,” he said.
The biggest headache proved to be the weather – but not in the usual way for Spa. Instead, the unexpectedly hot and sunny conditions in the Ardennes resulted in problems with tyre life and grip.
“It feels like I’m back in Ibiza, just unbelievable. That just makes it very, very difficult for the rear tyres,” said Rosberg. “Just really, really hot.
“[That] is unusual, so it’s very tough on the rear tyres, so we still have some work to do,” he admitted, adding that it would certainly have an effect on race strategies for Sunday. “It’s two or three stops, let’s see.
“It’s an added challenge. It really is tough out there to manage that, so we’re working on it and we need to do a better job than everyone else.”
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