Sebastian Vettel and the Scuderia Ferrari started the second-half of the season with a solid performance at the Belgian Grand Prix. The German champion led the way in FP1, while his teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, dominated FP2 with the fastest lap of the day.
Belgian GP – Takeaways from Friday Practice
Both free practice sessions started under dry conditions. A possible rain shower looked imminent during the First Practice session (FP1). Some drivers informed their teams about some raindrops in the 7.004 km long circuit in the morning session. The Pirelli tire choice for this race is the white-striped medium tire, yellow-striped soft tire, and the red-striped supersoft tire.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel led the way in the first practice session with a 1:44.358s lap time. Then Kimi Raikkonen controlled FP2 with a 1.43.355s, 0.168s faster than Mercedes‘ Lewis Hamilton.
The main takeaways from the two practice sessions were:
- Ferrari looks all-set to start the second part of the season. Mercedes had a quiet FP1 with Hamilton, the championship leader, in third place and Valtteri Bottas, who will start from the back of the field after a penalty due to exceeding Power Unit elements, in fifth.
- Max Verstappen was Red Bull’s best driver in FP1 and went second fastest, 0.151s behind Vettel’s lap time.
- Mercedes’ drivers, Bottas and Hamilton, worked the most part of FP1 on the medium tire.
- The gap between the fastest lap in FP1 and the sixth-placed car was a stunning 1.2s.
- Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo managed to perform only one flying lap after his car allegedly suffered from electrical issues during FP1. The Australian racer finished sixth in FP2 also but improved his lap time.
- Ferrari led both Friday practice sessions of a Grand Prix weekend for the first time in 2018 and the first since last year’s Russian GP.
- Force India started its new era with a good result in FP1 after Frenchman Esteban Ocon took seventh place. Sergio Pérez dominated the midfield with a seventh place in FP2.
- McLaren’s Lando Norris drove Fernando Alonso’s car in FP1 and positioned himself in the 18th spot.
- Stoffel Vandoorne finished in last place in both sessions, as his McLaren did not show any signs of improvement.
The Last Word
Ferrari and Mercedes look set, again, to fight a close battle from lights out to the chequered flag at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Red Bull seems to be a step behind the top two teams, while Racing Point Force India looks dominating in the mid-field.
Results of FP1:
|2||33||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||1:44.509||+0.151s||20|
|6||3||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||1:45.558||+1.200s||4|
|7||31||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1:45.786||+1.428s||22|
|9||11||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1:46.169||+1.811s||21|
|11||10||SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA||1:46.300||+1.942s||25|
|15||28||SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA||1:46.932||+2.574s||23|
Results of FP2:
|4||33||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||1:44.046||+0.691s||25|
|6||3||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||1:44.250||+0.895s||31|
|7||11||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1:44.662||+1.307s||27|
|13||31||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1:45.935||+2.580s||24|
|15||10||SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA||1:46.080||+2.725s||33|
|17||28||SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA||1:46.337||+2.982s||35|
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