Spa, FP1: Vettel quickest in first practice in Belgium

Engine issue for Ricciardo

By Franck Drui

24 August 2018 - 12:35
Spa, FP1: Vettel quickest in first (…)

Sebastian Vettel went quickest in opening practice for the Belgian Grand Prix, edging Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen by just over a tenth of a second, with championship leader Lewis Hamilton three tenths off the pace in third place.

As the first half hour of the 90-minute session came to a close Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas rose to the top of the order with a time of 1:44.998s, set on soft tyres. Hamilton then moved ahead of that mark by more three tenths of a second and that time then stood as his best for the remainder of the session.

Vettel’s P1 time came just before the hour mark and he edged ahead with a soft-tyre time of 1:44.358s. Verstappen then put in an excellent lap to splitting the titles rivals, running 0.151 behind Vettel and a similar margin ahead of Hamilton.

There was less to be happy about on the other side of the Red Bull garage, however, as Daniel Ricciardo spent most of the session out of his car as his worked to resolve an engine issue. It was eventually fixed and in the final minutes of the session the Australian clambered to sixth place on the timesheet.

That left him just behind Kimi Räikkönen in the second Ferrari and Bottas, who took fifth place at the start of a weekend on which the Finn will take a race day grid drop due to engine changes.

Behind Ricciardo, Esteban Ocon finished in seventh place for the new Racing Point Force India team. The Frenchman finished almost two tenths clear of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg who, like Bottas, will take an engine-related grid drop on Sunday.

Ninth place in the session was taken by Sergio Perez in the second Racing Point Force India, while Carlos Sainz took tenth spot with a time of 1:46.210.

Elsewhere, McLaren test driver Lando Norris made his grand prix weekend debut with the team, driving in place Fernando Alonso, who earlier this month announced he will retire from F1 at the end of the season, with Sainz taking his McLaren seat.

Norris finished in P18 in his first practice outing, 3.006s off the pace but just under a tenth quicker than team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, who suffered brake issues early in the session.

01 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:44.358 19
02 Max Verstappen Red Bull Tag Heuer 1:44.509 20
03 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 1:44.676 22
04 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:44.718 17
05 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG 1:44.724 25
06 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Tag Heuer 1:45.558 4
07 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1:45.786 22
08 Nico Hulkenberg Renault F1 1:45.951 19
09 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:46.169 21
10 Carlos Sainz Renault F1 1:46.210 19
11 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Honda 1:46.300 25
12 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:46.387 20
13 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 1:46.554 20
14 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:46.557 19
15 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso Honda 1:46.932 23
16 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:46.965 25
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:47.012 21
18 Lando Norris McLaren Renault 1:47.364 26
19 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 1:47.367 23
20 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Renault 1:47.452 13


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