Carlos Sainz turned the fastest lap in the first practice session at Spa-Francorchamps. Charles Leclerc was just 69 thousandths behind his teammate. Max Verstappen finished third. However, the result should be treated with caution.
Formula 1 reported back on Friday (26.8.) in Spa after a summer break of almost four weeks. For a long time it was unclear what track conditions the 20 pilots would encounter in the first practice session. But the light continuous drizzle did not disturb the program at the beginning. After careful reconnaissance laps on intermediates, slicks were quickly installed everywhere.
Max Verstappen initially set the pace on the first set of tyres. But Ferrari fought back on the second stint. Carlos Sainz turned the fastest lap of the session in 1:46.538 minutes. Shortly afterwards, teammate Charles Leclerc missed the best time by just 69 thousandths. However, the Monegasse also had to struggle with some traffic in the last sector.
First a break, then rain
Verstappen didn't get a chance to counterattack against the two Ferraris. First Kevin Magnussen rolled out with a hybrid problem on his Haas. Because the car was electrified, the rescue took 14 minutes. When the US racer was finally out of the way, a heavy rain shower prevented further time improvements.
In the table, which should be treated with caution, George Russell ranked fourth as the best Mercedes driver. Lewis Hamilton in the second Silver Arrow had to enjoy himself with ninth place. In between were Lance Stroll, Alexander Albon, Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda. Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull completed the top ten.
Problems with Magnussen, Ocon & Bottas
The two German drivers were not able to draw attention to themselves in the first practice session. Sebastian Vettel had to settle for 15th place at the start. Mick Schumacher did not get past 18th place on his first ride with the big Haas upgrade. After all, it went better than Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Ocon, who had to end their program prematurely due to technical problems.
Parallel to the first test laps on the track, the FIA also sent out the list of the new engine components for the high-speed battle at Spa. Accordingly, with Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen, Mick Schumacher, Valtteri Bottas, Esteban Ocon and Lando Norris, six drivers are penalized at the end of the field. The exact order in the back rows will then be determined in qualifying.