MERCEDES DUEL: Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg started the Belgian Grand Prix weekend with the fastest time in the first practice session. Image: AP / Luca Bruno
Spa-Francorchamps - Nico Rosberg posted the fastest time in the first practice session of the Belgian Grand Prix on Friday.
In unusually hot morning conditions on the Spa track, Rosberg was .730 of a second quicker than second-place Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton hit by grid penalty
Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest, .799 behind Rosberg.
Whatever Hamilton goes on to achieve in Sunday's (August 28) qualifying will be made redundant, however, as he is taking a grid penalty for having changed too many engine parts, and is going to start from the back of the grid.
Read: Belgian GP FP1 - As it happened
Hamilton, 2015's Belgian GP winner, has won six of the past seven races and leads Rosberg by 19 points with eight races remaining after this one.
But his penalty means Rosberg has a good chance to even things out.