Friday 15 December 2017

Rosberg left rattled by 200mph blowout

Nico Rosberg looks on in the garage during practice for the Belgian Grand Prix of Belgium yesterday
Nico Rosberg looks on in the garage during practice for the Belgian Grand Prix of Belgium yesterday Newsdesk Newsdesk

Nico Rosberg has said only luck prevented him from crashing into the wall after he suffered a spectacular 200mph tyre blowout in practice for the Belgian Grand Prix.

The 30-year-old German was approaching Blanchimont when he suffered a catastrophic right-rear tyre failure on his Mercedes.

Rosberg was left helpless as his car was sent into a high-speed slide following the tyre explosion, but mercifully he avoided a heavy impact with the wall.

"It was quite a shock," said Rosberg, whose wife Vivian is due to give birth to their first child next week. "It was not a nice experience at nearly 200mph to suddenly lose control. Something failed on the right rear.

"Unfortunately it wasn't down to my skill, it was just luck that I stayed away from the wall.

"Of course it is a little bit of a dent in the confidence. I didn't feel anything before - there was no warning at all - so there is going to be a big analysis."

Rosberg can, however, be heartened by a strong display on Formula One's return to action at Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

He set the pace in both practice sessions and his fastest lap of one minute 49.385 seconds in the afternoon was three tenths quicker than Lewis Hamilton, who leads Rosberg by 21 points in the drivers' standings.

Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat were next up for Red Bull, with Kimi Raikkonen, who has extended his stay with Ferrari into 2016, fifth fastest.

Hamilton said: "Nico is very quick so I have some work to do tonight to see where I can find some time.

"Ferrari and Red Bull also look closer here than they have at past weekends, so it'll be a close run thing.

"What happened towards the end with Nico obviously wasn't good but luckily he's unhurt."

Belgian Grand Prix Qualifying

BBC 2 and Sky Sports F1, 1.00pm

Belgian Grand Prix

BBC 1 and Sky Sports F1, tomorrow 1.00pm

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