As expected the Mercedes pair of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were at the front in FP1 at Spa while Ferrari and McLaren also had a good session.
Formula 1 returned on Friday after the annual three-week summer break, but it was a case of “as you were” with Rosberg taking the early honours with a 1:51.577 at Spa-Francorchamps.
His team-mate Hamilton slotted in behind him with a 1:51.674, but there wasn’t too much between the Mercedes duo and they even traded some wobbles at the final chicane with both sliding off before getting things back together.
Ferrari appear to be in much better shape with both Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen in the top five. Alonso was closest to the two Mercs with his 1:51.805 putting him third and Raikkonen down in fifth.
However, there were a couple of concerns with the F14T in FP1 with Alonso reporting a problem with his engine early in the session and Raikkonen complaining of an ERS issues.
Both, though, managed to return to the track without any further hiccups.
McLaren, who are expected to have a much better second half of the season, also had a solid outing with Jenson Button sandwiched between the two Ferraris and his team-mate Kevin Magnussen in seventh. The Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg were sixth and eighth respectively with Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull and Valtteri Bottas in the Williams completing the top 10.
FP1, of course, had some “new faces” as Alexander Rossi replaced Max Chilton in the Marussia and Andre Lotterer took over for Kamui Kobayashi in the Caterham.
Rossi was P20 with a 1:57.232, but we may not see the American in FP2 as Marussia revealed early in the day that Chilton will in fact drive for the rest of the weekend. That announcement came less than 24 hours after they said Chilton would sit out this weekend.
Three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer, meanwhile, is making his F1 debut and his 1:57.886 was good enough for P21, one place better than his team-mate Marcus Ericcson.
01. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m51.577s 25 laps
02. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m51.674s +0.097s 24
03. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m51.805s +0.228s 16
04. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m52.404s +0.827s 21
05. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m52.818s +1.241s 17
06. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m52.903s +1.326s 24
07. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m52.922s +1.345s 23
08. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m52.937s +1.360s 22
09. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m52.972s +1.395s 19
10. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m53.172s +1.595s 20
11. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m53.369s +1.792s 11
12. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m53.594s +2.017s 21
13. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m53.597s +2.020s 20
14. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m53.703s +2.126s 14
15. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m53.968s +2.391s 20
16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m54.189s +2.612s 20
17. Giedo van der Garde Sauber-Ferrari 1m54.335s +2.758s 16
18. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m55.336s +3.759s 21
19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m55.782s +4.205s 19
20. Alexander Rossi Marussia-Ferrari 1m57.232s +5.655s 20
21. Andre Lotterer Caterham-Renault 1m57.886s +6.309s 24
22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m57.977s +6.400s 24
Spa, Spa, Glorious Spa