Formula One’s back, but nobody told the weather. Practice report from a damp Spa…

Posted by topgear at 04:26 am on Saturday September 01, 2012

There is no sight more likely to stir your soul, catch your breath and trip your heartbeat than the sight of an F1 car flat out, flicking left and then right through the Spa circuit’s Eau Rouge kink in the rain. And today there were indeed no sightings of F1 cars, flat out, flicking left right through Eau Rouge. Yeah, it rained that hard all day. The few laps that were completed were anything but flat and frankly, so was the atmosphere.

Oh well, it was always going to be something of an anti-climax when F1 cars returned to commence the second act of ‘The Greatest F1 season ever written”. We just wish it hadn’t been such an anti-climax.

Still, we’re feeling pumped. We’ve spent the week grading the F1 teams on their performances so far this season. And we’re rather proud, because we gave Marussia an ‘A’ grade and what do you know, Charles Pic — you know, the little Frenchman with the Harry-Styles-out-of-One-Direction hair (ask someone’s daughter) — ended the day fastest.

It meant only that he was one of a tiny minority of drivers that actually started and finished a complete lap without heading back under cover. But we’re liking Marussia. Sunday’s race will be its 50th and it announced this week that it will have KERS on the car next season. There must be a good vibe there today and they’ve earned it.

It was a funny day. Sky’s really quite excellent team of hardcore racers had to fill like crazy over pictures of Lewis Hamilton tweeting and Instagram-ing, queues of Belgians in plastic ponchos heading nowhere in particular and in-car footage that just, for once, made you glad you’re not an F1 driver.

So qualifying tomorrow and there is absolutely nothing we have learned from today that gives us any clue as to how the cars will perform, except maybe an over-whelming sense that Lewis Hamilton is in a place as ‘good’ as it was ‘bad’ last year. McLaren ended the season’s first act as the team to beat. The MP4-27 is a little tidier looking but so are all the cars, running low-downforce wings front and rear for Spa and next week for Monza.

Roll on tomorrow.

TAGS// f1, formula one

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