A positive Lewis Hamilton said he is pleased to be back in Formula 1 action after finishing the first day of running for the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix with the quickest time of the day.
The three-times World Champion was edged out by Scuderia Ferrari‘s Kimi Raikkonen in free practice 1 on Friday morning by just 0.053 seconds, but hit back in the afternoon session with a fastest lap time of 1:44.753s, leaving the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver more than two-tenths of a second clear of the Finn at the top of the time sheets.
Raikkonen continued to lead Ferrari’s charge with Hamilton’s main title rival Sebastian Vettel finishing only fifth-fastest, behind both Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen, with Hamilton pleased with the days running in the Ardennes.
“It’s great to be back!” said Hamilton at the end of Friday. “Today felt like one of our strongest Fridays so far this season. The car felt strong all-round straight out of the box.
“We made some good steps with the set-up right from the start of FP1, which is a really encouraging way to kick off the weekend. It looks tight at the top on the long-run pace, but we’ve started the weekend in the best way possible.”