Formula 1

Bottas Edges Hamilton, Verstappen in Opening Spa Practice

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Credit: LAT Images

Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s Valtteri Bottas claimed the fastest time in the opening session of this years Belgian Grand Prix. However, his team-mate Lewis Hamilton and fan favourite Max Verstappen all but matched the Finns pace.

With rain expected later this weekend the twenty drivers were keen to get as much running in as possible. Bottas completed eighteen laps and Hamilton seventeen, with the duo separated by 0.069 seconds at the end of the season. Verstappen was also within a tenth of a second in the leading Aston Martin Red Bull Racing entry. Bottas suffered a front-left puncture late in the session but he was able to return to the pits without losing any time.

Italy’s pride and glory Scuderia Ferrari knew Belgium would be a painful visit this year with the tracks need for engine power and high speed nature, and Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel’s fourteenth and fifteenth confirmed the work the team would have to do to pull off a result this year.

On the contrary, the now free from investigation BWT Racing Point Formula One Team are looking very punchy around Spa Francorchamps, ending fourth and fifth, Sergio Pérez just over two-tenths of a second ahead of Lance Stroll. Alexander Albon was sixth and half a second off of team-mate Verstappen’s pace in the the sister Red Bull.

The Renault DP World F1 Team seem to have found a large improvement in pace closely matching McLaren F1 Team, with Esteban Ocon securing seventh, ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Daniel Ricciardo was just 0.049s ahead of future team-mate Lando Norris in the second  McLaren in tenth.

Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda were on the edge of the top ten and look equally fast on the harder compound tyres, setting their quickest medium and hard tyres just a mere two tenths off tenth place Norris, with Daniil Kvyat having the edge of team-mate Pierre Gasly.

The “king of Spa” Kimi Raikkonen had a strong session around his favourite circuit ending the session as the quickest Ferrari powered car, with his Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen 0.055s quicker than Leclerc’s Ferrari in thirteenth. Team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi was unable to set a laptime, with the Italian suffering a technical issue at the start of the session.

The newly sold Williams Racing saw its drivers Nicholas Latifi and George Russell finish sixteenth and seventeenth respectively, finishing ahead of Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean and Giovinazzi, all of whom failed to set a time.

Haas F1 Team’s poor season continued on Friday morning, with both cars failing to set a time in the session. Both Magnussen and Grosjean suffered engine related issues, although they were two separate problems. The team were forced to abandon plans to run in the session after both power units needing change in order to try and resolve the issues.

177Valtteri BottasFINMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:44.493
244Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:44.562+0.069
333Max VerstappenNEDAston Martin Red Bull Racing1:44.574+0.081
411Sergio PérezMEXBWT Racing Point Formula One Team1:44.629+0.136
518Lance StrollCANBWT Racing Point Formula One Team1:44.868+0.375
623Alexander AlbonTHAAston Martin Red Bull Racing1:45.049+0.556
731Esteban OconFRARenault DP World F1 Team1:45.099+0.606
855Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPMcLaren F1 Team1:45.222+0.729
93Daniel RicciardoAUSRenault DP World F1 Team1:45.225+0.732
104Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1:45.274+0.781
1126Daniil KvyatRUSScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:45.447+0.954
1210Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:45.503+1.010
137Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN1:45.704+1.211
1416Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1:45.759+1.266
155Sebastian VettelGERScuderia Ferrari1:46.179+1.686
166Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1:46.488+1.995
1763George RussellGBRWilliams Racing1:46.570+2.077
1820Kevin MagnussenDENHaas F1 TeamNo Time
198Romain GrosjeanFRAHaas F1 TeamNo Time
2099Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing ORLENNo Time
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