Formula 1

Belgian GP: Raikkonen pips Hamilton to fastest time in Spa FP1 – F1

Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest time in first practice for the Belgian Grand Prix as Formula 1 returned from its summer break at Spa-Francorchamps.

The Ferrari driver pipped title contenders Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel to top spot in the opening session, though had to use ultra-soft tyres to defeat the soft-shod Hamilton.

Force India’s Esteban Ocon spent the opening half an hour of the session quickest, as he was the only driver to have completed a flying lap when Felipe Massa crashed after 15 minutes.

Massa ran wide across the gravel at the exit of Malmedy, the Turn 7 right-hander after Les Combes, and crunched the front-left of his Williams into the tyre barrier.

The session was stopped for 10 minutes and when running resumed Ocon’s 1m48.962s was swiftly beaten by team-mate Sergio Perez and Raikkonen, before Daniel Ricciardo and Hamilton started posting more representative lap times.

Ricciardo made good use of ultra-soft tyres to post a 1m46.656s, but Hamilton soon made P1 his own.

He went quickest just before the 90-minute session’s halfway mark on a 1m46.439s on super-soft tyres, and later went almost a second faster in the final half an hour on softs.

He had to abort his first flying lap on softs when Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas suffered an odd trip into the gravel on the exit of the Turn 11/12 chicane before Stavelot.

Bottas appeared to be getting out of the way of a McLaren on the right-hand side and dipped a wheel off-track, which caused him to slide across the gravel and lightly bump the tyre barrier.

As Bottas slowly got his Mercedes out of trouble and back to the pits, Hamilton stayed out on the same set of tyres and pumped in a 1m45.555s to leap a second clear of Ricciardo.

Vettel made a late switch to ultra-soft tyres and fell a tenth short of Hamilton, but when Raikkonen made the same change with five minutes to go he edged ahead of Hamilton by 0.053s.

Max Verstappen used his ultra-softs to jump ahead of Ricciardo with 20 minutes remaining, as the Red Bull ended up 0.8s slower than Raikkonen.

Bottas’s error consigned him to sixth, ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr, Ocon, Daniil Kvyat and Stoffel Vandoorne.

McLaren driver Vandoorne joined Hamilton and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson in trialling the controversial halo cockpit protection device at the start of FP1, with Vandoorne and Hamilton returning to the pits at the end of their outlap while Ericsson continued onto a second.

Fernando Alonso’s return to F1 track action in the second McLaren lasted just five minutes before he suffered a fresh bout of Honda engine woe.

The Spaniard is running an updated internal combustion engine this weekend, but he reported “no power” on his outlap and crawled back to the pits.

He emerged soon after the red flag and, despite his DRS shutting off “sluggishly”, found enough reliability to set the 13th-fastest time.

FP1 times

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Kimi Raikkonen Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 1m45.502s 13
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes 1m45.555s 0.053s 19
3 Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 1m45.647s 0.145s 13
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Red Bull/Renault 1m46.302s 0.800s 18
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing Red Bull/Renault 1m46.352s 0.850s 22
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes 1m46.424s 0.922s 20
7 Carlos Sainz Scuderia Toro Rosso Toro Rosso/Renault 1m47.446s 1.944s 22
8 Esteban Ocon Sahara Force India F1 Team Force India/Mercedes 1m47.670s 2.168s 27
9 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Toro Rosso/Renault 1m47.851s 2.349s 20
10 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda McLaren/Honda 1m47.865s 2.363s 18
11 Jolyon Palmer Renault Sport F1 Team Renault 1m47.930s 2.428s 14
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault Sport F1 Team Renault 1m48.037s 2.535s 15
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda McLaren/Honda 1m48.252s 2.750s 18
14 Sergio Perez Sahara Force India F1 Team Force India/Mercedes 1m48.452s 2.950s 19
15 Lance Stroll Williams Martini Racing Williams/Mercedes 1m48.541s 3.039s 24
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team Haas/Ferrari 1m48.615s 3.113s 20
17 Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team Haas/Ferrari 1m48.626s 3.124s 20
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber F1 Team Sauber/Ferrari 1m50.160s 4.658s 21
19 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber F1 Team Sauber/Ferrari 1m51.263s 5.761s 13
20 Felipe Massa Williams Martini Racing Williams/Mercedes 3

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