Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN were the leading Ferrari-powered team in both free practice sessions on Friday at Spa-Francorchamps, even ahead of the works Scuderia Ferrari team.
Antonio Giovinazzi missed first practice after an issue with his power unit kept him in the garage for all bar a couple of installation laps, but the Italian rebounded in the afternoon session to set the thirteenth fastest time. He ended up two places ahead of the leading Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, with Sebastian Vettel two place further back in seventeenth.
Giovinazzi has yet to escape Q1 in Qualifying this season, but the pace on Friday has given him hope that he can advance into Q2 for the first time this weekend at the seventh time of asking.
“Missing out on FP1 was not ideal, but we made good progress in the afternoon so we made up some of the ground we missed,” said Giovinazzi. “I felt good in the car and, when you do, everything becomes easier, so I am happy now.
“Hopefully we can find some more performance tonight and see where we stand tomorrow. The weather is still a big question mark for the race, but for now our focus is firmly set on qualifying. My target is to make it to Q2 for the first time in the season.”
Team-mate Kimi Räikkönen was ahead of the two Ferrari’s in both sessions, ending thirteenth fastest in the morning before finishing 0.035 seconds behind Giovinazzi in fourteenth in the afternoon.
“It has been a relatively straightforward Friday for me,” said Räikkönen. “As always, there are still many things to improve but the feeling is that if we put everything together, we can be a bit more competitive.
“It’s still very early in the day, we need to build on what we did today and see where we are tomorrow when it matters.”