Max Verstappen led the first day of Formula 1 practice for the Belgian GP. The Dutchman spiked 1min44s472 this Friday afternoon (27) in the second free practice at Spa-Francorchamps and ended the day with a margin of 0.041 for Valtteri Bottas, the second place. Lewis Hamilton secured third place.
Already 0s481 behind Verstappen, Fernando Alonso took fourth place, ahead of Pierre Gasly, Lance Stroll, Esteban Ocon, Sebastian Vettel, Lando Norris and Sergio Pérez.
Carlos Sainz Jr. reached 1:45:517 and put Ferrari in 11th place, followed by Yuki Tsunoda. Atonio Giovinazzi was 13th and was ahead of Kimi Räikkönen, Daniel Ricciardo, Nicholas Latifi, George Russell, Charles Leclerc and Nikita Mazepin. Mick Schumacher was 3s057 slower than the pointer and ended up last.
Formula 1 resumes track work this Saturday with free practice 3, starting at 7am (GMT), while classification is scheduled for 10am. O BIG PRIZE follow all the Belgium GP track activities LIVE and in REAL TIME. Follow everything here.
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Check out the drivers’ statements: after Formula 1 practice Friday for the Belgian GP:
Max Verstappen, first: Verstappen minimizes accident in TL2 and highlights positive start in Belgium: “Well happy”
Valtteri Bottas, second: Bottas sees Mercedes fast in Spa, but warns of “key decision” in the fight against Red Bull
Lewis Hamilton, third: Hamilton talks about a “good day” in Belgium, but reveals a dilemma with the correctness and balance of the W12
Fernando Alonso, room: In the top-10, Alonso and Ocon approve of Alpine’s “good base” in Spa training Friday
Pierre Gasly, fifth: Gasly is thrilled with returning to the track “in the best possible shape” in Spa
Lance Stroll, sixth: “It’s great to come back to Spa. I love coming here because it’s a very special track. We met our schedule for today with a good number of laps, and I felt comfortable in the car. It was a good start for us, but the wet track shows that Saturday and Sunday can be unpredictable days. The weather makes everything challenging, but that’s exciting for the riders. I look forward to returning tomorrow and continuing the work of today”
Esteban Ocon, seventh: In the top-10, Alonso and Ocon approve of Alpine’s “good base” in Spa training Friday
Sebastian Vettel, eighth: Vettel calls himself “comfortable” in Spa and asks Aston Martin to enjoy unpredictable weather
Lando Norris, ninth: “I’m happy to get back in the car, but of course everyone is getting used to it. Still, it was a positive day. We’ve improved the car, tried a few different things and I think we’re going in a good direction to get a better hit in the TL3 and qualifying. It’s been challenging in this climate, but I’m confident we’re capable of challenging our opponents.”
Sergio Pérez, tenth: “The car is good and I think we have potential this weekend. The climate issue will be interesting tomorrow as it affects the car’s configuration. I think we will be in the fight in the classification, our pace was strong today. We have a lot of information about the two training sessions and now it’s time to sit down and analyze everything. It’s great to have my contract renewed with Red Bull for next year, allowing me to focus my energy on this season.”
Carlos Sainz Jr., 11th: Sainz regrets performance on Friday in Belgium
Yuki Tsunoda, 12th: “My goal this weekend is to be consistent and gain speed throughout practice. I think this is working so far and we are improving our performance. We sense the rhythm in our team, so it’s a matter of gaining confidence before tomorrow’s qualifying. The climate changes and this is traditional in Spa, which makes driving more difficult, but I have fond memories of this circuit and I’m excited to race here with an F1 car”
Antonio Giovinazzi, 13th: “The day was positive, it was a good return from vacation. I’m happy with our work, even without many full tank laps, because we can still do that tomorrow morning. We expected rain in the afternoon, but it got dry. We’ll see what happens tomorrow”
Kimi Räikkönen, 14th: “The day was better than we expected. The TL2 was looking like rain, but it was still dry and we were able to walk. We have taken it a step further, but there is still a lot of work to do. We’ll see what the atmosphere will be like in the standings, as well as what we can do tonight to improve tomorrow. Anything can happen in such a climate”
Daniel Ricciardo, 15th: “The most important thing is to be back, although it is a little difficult to return after the holidays. I got to enjoy it, it makes me excited. Our pace on soft tires wasn’t great, but I think we have a good understanding of why. I don’t think we need to worry about the times of today. We were pretty decent with hard ones. We improved the setup of the car and had a steady day. We’ll see what happens tomorrow”
Nicholas Latifi, 16th: “It’s great to get back in the car on such a good track for a Formula 1 car. The weather has made everything a little fuzzy, which means we still have to find more pace. I’m happy with our qualifying simulations, but it was harder to simulate racing because of the red flags. We still have some work to do, with the unpredictable weather making decision-making more challenging. This track is fun in the dry, but we’ll have more opportunities if it rains”
George Russell, 17th: “I’m glad to be back. It’s been four weeks since the last time I drove, it’s good to be back. I think we got lucky with the weather today, enjoying the drier parts of the day in both sessions, which is good for us and for the fans. Maintaining tire temperature and confidence in the car on the wet stretches of the track will be tricky if we go on with mixed conditions. We have a lot to improve during the night, I don’t think we have much rhythm. We have some cards up our sleeves, we need to think about it. It’s always a matter of finding a happy medium, which means we’ll have interesting conversations about which direction to take.”
Charles Leclerc, 18th: Leclerc promises to learn by accident
Nikita Mazepin, 19th: “The car was good. The track started out wet in both sessions, but not to the point of running with intermediates, which means we lost track time. The car felt good in the dry, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It’s not the best setting for driving, but we don’t have much to improve on today’s car. It was challenging and enjoyable to do Eau Rouge without taking your foot off”
Mick Schumacher, 20th: “It was great to get back on track after the holidays, especially on a special track like this. I was rooting for a damp track, but everything dried up early on. Still, we’ve learned a lot and have some ideas to try out tomorrow. We need to see what the weather has in store for us. Today it was supposed to rain all the time, but it ended up drying out”