After a week off, Formula 1 teams and drivers are back to work. The first free practice session at the Belgian Grand Prix has starts this morning.
FIRST PRACTICE BELGIAN GP 2020 – Valtteri Bottas led another Mercedes 1-2 in opening Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, but with Max Verstappen’s Red Bull and the Racing Points close behind.
FIRST FREE PRACTICE – BELGIUM GP 2020
|3||Max VERSTAPPEN||Red Bull||1:44.574|
|4||Sergio PÉREZ||Racing Point||1:44.629|
|5||Lance STROLL||Racing Point||1:44.868|
|6||Alexander ALBON||Red Bull||1:45.049|
|11||Daniil KVYAT||Alpha Tauri||1:45.447|
|12||Pierre GASLY||Alpha Tauri||1:45.503|
|13||Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN||Alfa Romeo||1:45.704|
|20||Antonio GIOVINAZZI||Alfa Romeo|
BOTTAS LEADS HAMILTON IN FIRST PRACTICE FOR BELGIAN GP 2020
Rather than Bottas and Lewis Hamilton being comfortably clear as is so often the case even this early in a Formula 1 weekend, the top five cars around the long Belgian track were within 0.375s.
Verstappen had been quickest of all initially, using hard tyres while the Mercedes were on mediums, before Hamilton beat the Red Bull-Honda’s 1m45.470s benchmark by 0.172s.
Significant leaps were made on soft tyres, allowing early switchers like the McLarens and Alex Albon spells on top.
Mercedes then established its habitual 1-2 formation with Bottas on a 1m44.493s and Hamilton 0.069s slower.
But Verstappen was just 0.081s off the pace with his soft-tyre run, and Sergio Perez a further 0.055s away. His Racing Point team-mate Lance Stroll completed the close top five ahead of Albon.
Bottas’s morning had some late disruption when he locked up and went over the runoff at the Bus Stop, and was then a few laps later ordered into the pits because Mercedes’ data indicated he had a right-front puncture.
He joked over the radio that he was “getting used to these punctures” having had one on his road car between races and also famously suffered his tyre collapse in the closing stages of the British Grand Prix earlier this month.
A Renault and McLaren quartet completed the top 10, Esteban Ocon ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr, Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris, as the Ferrari contingent had a very tough start.
Both Haas drivers sat out most of the session after Romain Grosjean reported an immediate loss of power. The team then said it was changing power units on both cars.
Fellow Ferrari customer runner Antonio Giovinazzi also ran just two in/out-laps before spending the rest of the morning in the Alfa Romeo garage for reasons as yet unclear.
His team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and the works Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel all completed comparable lap counts to the frontrunners but were down in 13th through 15th positions.
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THE NEXT RACE 2021
|Bahrain ||26 Mar|
|14:30 - 15:30||Free practice 1|
|18:00 - 19:00||Free practice 2|
|15:00 - 16:00||Free practice 3|
|18:00 - 19:00||Qualifying|
|18:00 - 20:00||Race|
|Bahrain||57 laps||308.238 km|