After Kimi Raikkonen topped FP1 for Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton showed his pace in FP2, Formula 1 returned for the third and final practice session of this weekend. With practice two being rained out with 30 minutes to go on Friday, many teams still had some long distance running to conduct before qualifying.
Kimi Raikkonen breaks Belgian GP lap record to top FP3
With it raining overnight at Spa, drivers were greeted with a damp circuit at the start of the session, forcing them to do their initial laps on the inermediate tyres. The circuit quickly dried out however, allowing some uninterrupted dry running. This was interrupted when Daniil Kvyat broke down on the Kemmel Straight with 25 minutes to go, with flames belching out of the back of his Toro Rosso. This is the last thing that the Italian team need before qualifying, with it being likely that the team will have to carry out a repair job on its car.
This was a key session for Williams, who suffered a Friday to forget. After Felipe Massa crashed in FP1, the Grove-based team was unable to do running with both cars in second practice due to a car rebuild which meant that it could not be re-scrutineered until the following morning due to the rules of the FIA. Limited running meant that it was unable to compare two different aero packages and collect important data ahead of the race. The pace was also not there, with Lance Stroll only managing to set the 15th and 17th fastest times. This dreadful day was topped off with a fine for a breach in tyre usage. Being only 15th and 16th fastest in final practice suggests that the team will struggle in qualifying and in the race, despite needing to grab some much needed points having not finished inside the top ten since Silverstone.
When the checkered flag waved, Kimi Raikkonen topped practice for the second time this weekend, breaking the lap record of Spa with a 1:43.916, 0.197 seconds faster than his team mate Sebastian Vettel and 0.198 seconds faster than Lewis Hamilton who was third.
Heading into qualifying, Mercedes and Ferrari are both looking evenly matched. In qualifying however, when the Silver Arrows turn up the pace, the team may have an edge over its rivals. Lewis Hamilton will also be looking to secure pole at Belgium, not only aiming to win the race but also aiming to match Michael Schumacher’s record 68 pole positions in Formula 1 on the circuit that the seven time champion secured his maiden win and on the weekend which marks his 200th grand prix.
Results from Practice 3 of the Belgian Grand Prix:
- Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:43.916
- Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:44.113
- Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:44.114
- Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1:45.034
- Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 1:45.230
- Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, 1:45.286
- Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 1:45.491
- Sergio Perez, Force India, 1:45.857
- Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso, 1:45.942
- Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:46.060
- Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1:46.064
- Esteban Ocon, Force India, 1:46.179
- Romain Grosjean, Haas F1, 1:46.196
- Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 1:46.300
- Lance Stroll, Williams, 1:46.620
- Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:46.667
- Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1, 1:46.690
- Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 1:47.903
- Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber, 1:48.296
- Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:48.300
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