Formula One began their third consecutive triple header with Friday Practice for the 2020 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps, in which Max Verstappen finished fastest.
With unpredictable risk of rain throughout this weekend, Friday Practice proved to be eventful as Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas looked to build some early weekend momentum over teammate, Lewis Hamilton but it would be Max Verstappen who set the gauntlet ahead of Saturday’s action.
Carlos Sainz and Alex Albon were first drivers straight out on track but Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc set the first timed lap of 1m 47.033, as many opted to remain in pits for a further ten minutes until Verstappen went top in the 22nd minute, only to then improve on his next flier to a 1m 45.470.
Hamilton and Bottas meanwhile were half a second down on Verstappen with Sergio Perez and Lando Norris briefly getting in amongst the mix, until Hamilton went quickest on mediums with a 1m 45.298 in 38th minute just before the traditional lull.
Rain threatened FP2 so several drivers opted for qualifying simulations with Norris being the first driver to attempt a soft flier only for his time to be quickly bettered by Sainz and Albon before Bottas set the quickest FP1 time with a 1m 44.493 on his effort which was 0.069 seconds faster than Hamilton’s 1m 44.562 with Verstappen and Perez slotting into third and fourth as the top four were split by just 0.136 seconds.
Ferrari endured a difficult morning in search of straight-line speed with Leclerc finishing just ahead of Sebastian Vettel with 14th and 15th fastest timed laps.
Haas duo of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen failed to set a lap time due to power unit issues whilst Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi also didn’t post a flying lap due to technical issues.
The afternoon session began with an unusual lull of silence after a rain shower during F3 Qualifying, until Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi headed out in the 12th minute with a flurry of cars following him out onto the circuit within the next three minutes.
Giovinazzi proceeded to set the first representative timed lap on mediums of a 1m 49.716 which was immediately bettered by Kimi Raikkonen by 3.314 seconds until Albon went top with a 1m 45.212 from Renault’s Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo.
Bottas then Verstappen soon took over at the top of the timesheet with both Racing Point drivers firmly amongst the frontrunning mix until Verstappen set the day’s best time during his qualifying simulation on soft tyres of a 1m 43.744, with Ricciardo popping up in second and just 0.048s shy of his former teammate but ahead of Hamilton who was 0.096s off Verstappen’s time.
Albon found himself fourth and just 0.003s ahead of Perez with Bottas, Ocon, Sainz and Pierre Gasly rounding out the top ten come end of Qualifying simulations.
Leclerc was the fastest Ferrari in 15th position with Williams’ George Russell edging Vettel out for the 16th quickest time.
Ricciardo’s race simulation then came to an early end when he pulled over on the Kemmel Straight with a mechanical issue.
Advertising hoardings on the run to Eau Rouge meanwhile disrupted everyone’s race practice by falling off some barriers, which had been hit by Giuliano Alesi in F2 Practice earlier in the day and triggered a four minute red flag.
|1||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||1m 44.493|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.069|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.081|
|4||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+ 0.136|
|5||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+ 0.375|
|6||Alex Albon||Red Bull||+ 0.556|
|7||Esteban Ocon||Renault||+ 0.606|
|8||Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+ 0.729|
|9||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+ 0.732|
|10||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 0.781|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Alpha Tauri||+ 0.954|
|12||Pierre Gasly||Alpha Tauri||+ 1.010|
|13||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.211|
|14||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 1.266|
|15||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 1.686|
|16||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 1.995|
|17||George Russell||Williams||+ 2.077|
|18||Romain Grosjean||Haas||No Time Set|
|19||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||No Time Set|
|20||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||No Time Set|
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1m 43.744|
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+ 0.048|
|3||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.096|
|4||Alex Albon||Red Bull||+ 0.390|
|5||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+ 0.393|
|6||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 0.418|
|7||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 0.424|
|8||Esteban Ocon||Renault||+ 0.464|
|9||Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+ 0.730|
|10||Pierre Gasly||Alpha Tauri||+ 0.856|
|11||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+ 0.934|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Alpha Tauri||+ 1.082|
|13||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.117|
|14||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.152|
|15||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 1.696|
|16||George Russell||Williams||+ 1.719|
|17||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 1.939|
|18||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 2.030|
|19||Romain Grosjean||Haas||+ 2.090|
|20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 2.498|