Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was fastest in the first practice session for this weekends Belgian Grand Prix. The German set his fastest time on the soft tyre to go a tenth faster than the Red Bull of Max Verstappen and his championship rival Lewis Hamilton third.
Vettel edged out Verstappen who both set there fastest times on the soft tyres, the Dutchman went fastest early on with Vettel responding to his time. Then Hamilton went fastest setting his best time off the session as he didn’t opt to change to the faster compound of tyres.
This weekend is the beginning of what could be a pivotal moment in the championship, both Ferrari and Mercedes have introduced the final engine upgrades as they look to gain momentum ahead of Singapore in a mid-September.
However Red Bull will be looking to match the Mercedes and Ferrari on track, Verstappen showed that they had some pace. Red Bull know that this weekend could be a challenge to fight with the top two at the power sensitive circuit.
Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest in the Ferrari and Valtteri Bottas was fifth. It wasn’t however plain sailing for Daniel Ricciardo, his running was halted immediately and he lost most of the session. The Australian was, however, able to get himself back out on track, on a single lap he went sixth fastest.
It looks as expected Mercedes hold the advantage over Ferrari in sectors one and three with Ferrari having the advantage in the second, which has breaking and slower corners.
After a turbulent few weeks, the ‘new’ Force India returned to the best of the rest spot with Sergio Perez seventh and Esteban Ocon ninth. The team now officially called Racing Point has traditionally been very strong at Spa.
The two were split by the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg, while his teammate Carlos Sainz rounded out the top ten. Like the works Mercedes team Racing Point and Williams have also received an upgraded engine.
Pierre Gasly continued to show why he earnt his Red Bull seat for 2019, by edging out Haas’s Roman Grosjean and the Sauber’s.
Fernando Alonso sat out the session to allow Lando Norris to drive. The Bristolian impressed on track outpacing Stoffel Vandoorne, however the two were running different programmes and the Belgian was hit by reliability.
He then lost more track time at the end of the session as the team removed the floor to investigate a suspected leak.