Spa, FP1: Bottas heads opening practice session for Belgian Grand Prix

Hamilton 2nd, Verstappen 3rd


By Olivier Ferret

28 August 2020 - 12:33
Spa, FP1: Bottas heads opening (...)

Valtteri Bottas went quickest in the opening Formula 1 practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix, narrowly beating Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.

Bottas set his best time of 1:44.493s on soft tyres to eclipse championship leader Hamilton by 0.069 seconds. Verstappen got close to the Mercedes pair on the longest circuit on the calendar and the Dutchman ended the session with a best time of 1:44.574, just 0.081 off Hamilton’s P1 time.

Fourth and fifth places in the session went to Racing Point’s Sergio Pérez and Lance Stroll who continued the team’s traditional good form at Spa that stretches back to its previous incarnation as Force India. Pérez finished just five hundredths of a second behind Verstappen. Stroll, meanwhile, ended the session two tenths of a second behind his team-mate.

The two Racing Points were sandwiched by the Red Bulls, with Verstappen ahead and Alexander Albon in sixth place. The Thai driver set a best time of 1:45.049, just under half a second off his Dutch team-mate.

Behind the top six Renault’s Esteban Ocon was seventh ahead of the McLaren’s Carlose Sainz, with Daniel Ricciardo in the second Renault in ninth place ahead of the second McLaren of Lando Norris.

AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly were 11th and 12th respectively, though Gasly was left fuming over the radio during the session after coming across a slow Norris on track. Both AlphaTauris set their fastest times on the medium tyre.

It was a muted session for Ferrari, however, with Charles Leclerc finishing in 14th place, 1.266s off the pace, while team-mate Sebastian Vettel was 15th and a further four tenths of a second behind.

There was greater trouble for other drivers, however, with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi all failing to set a time. Grosjean reported a loss of power on his Haas F1 car early in the session and the team then reported that Magnussen’s car also had an issue and both would be having an engine change before the second session. Alfa Romeo reported that Giovinazzi’s car had suffered a ‘technical issue that limited him to just two installation lap.

01 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W11 1:44.493 18
02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W11 1:44.562 17
03 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16 1:44.574 20
04 Sergio Perez Racing Point Mercedes RP20 1:44.629 22
05 Lance Stroll Racing Point Mercedes RP20 1:44.868 22
06 Alex Albon Red Bull Honda RB16 1:45.049 22
07 Esteban Ocon Renault RS20 1:45.099 20
08 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault MCL35 1:45.222 24
09 Daniel Ricciardo Renault RS20 1:45.225 21
10 Lando Norris McLaren Renault MCL35 1:45.274 28
11 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri Honda AT01 1:45.447 25
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT01 1:45.503 17
13 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39 1:45.704 19
14 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF1000 1:45.759 18
15 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari SF1000 1:46.179 15
16 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43 1:46.488 19
17 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43 1:46.570 21
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-20 -:—.--- 1
19 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari VF-20 -:—.--- 2
20 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39 -:—.--- 2

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