Belgian GP: Vettel leads Ferrari 1-2 in final practice

Sebastian Vettel headed a Ferrari one-two in the final Formula 1 free practice session ahead of qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Belgian GP: Vettel leads Ferrari 1-2 in final practice

Kimi Raikkonen set the pace early on using supersoft rubber, setting a best lap of 1m43.425s 11 minutes into the one-hour session to outpace soft-shod Lewis Hamilton by a tenth of a second.

That laptime was not beaten until the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers headed out again on fresh supersofts, with Raikkonen improving his time to a 1m42.734s with 20 minutes remaining to consolidate top spot.

Vettel then slotted in behind him just 0.033s slower, with Hamilton a further 0.029s down.

Vettel then took top spot on his second push lap on the same set of supersofts with 15 minutes remaining, posting a 1m42.661s while Raikkonen only improved to a 1m42.724s moments before reporting a few spots of rain.

The final runs were delayed by a red flag with 10 minutes remaining caused by Stoffel Vandoorne crashing on the Kemmel Straight.

The McLaren driver was on a hot lap when he was closing on Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, who was on an out-lap.

Vandoorne closed on the Mercedes, which was still building up speed, and moved to the left coming through the gentle right-hand kink on the Kemmel Straight.

Bottas then drifted left and forced Vandoorne onto the grass, leading to the McLaren spinning across the circuit and lightly into the barrier on the opposite side.

The stewards will investigate the incident after the session, with Vandoorne saying over the radio: "What the hell was that Mercedes doing? He pushed me on the grass."

Bottas admitted over the radio that "I didn't see him", and clearly was unaware the McLaren was closing on him having just the other McLaren of Fernando Alonso, who Vandoorne was getting a tow from, past.

The session was restarted with only two minutes remaining, with a long queue forming at the pitlane exit ready for the restart for the charge to get to start a flying lap.

In the hurry to get out, Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly spun joining the track through the right-hand corner at the pit exit,but was able to rejoin.

Those towards the front of the queue were able to get around quickly enough to get in a flying lap, although neither the Ferrari nor the Mercedes drivers were able to make attempts.

This ensured Vettel led Raikkonen for a Ferrari one-two, with Hamilton and Bottas ahead of fifth-placed Max Verstappen, the Red Bull driver improving his time to a 1m44.048s after the red flag but not changing his position.

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo was sixth fastest, four tenths slower than his teammate, with Charles Leclerc consolidating his seventh place by improving late on and setting a time 2.302s off the pace.

Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon rounded out the top 10 with their fastest times set earlier in the session on soft rubber.

Hulkenberg, who will start from the back of the grid thanks to a Renault power unit change yesterday, also took another new turbocharger ahead of this session.

Marcus Ericsson was the third and final driver to improve after the red flag, securing 11th place ahead of Haas driver Romain Grosjean.

Carlos Sainz, like Renault teammate Nico Hulkenberg, ran the new floor but was one of the many drivers not to complete a proper qualifying simulation.

He ended up ahead of the second Haas of Kevin Magnussen and Gasly.

McLaren pairing Alonso and Vandoorne were slowest, having both set their times before the red flag using medium-compound Pirellis.

Cla Driver Chassis Engine Laps Time Gap Interval
1 Germany Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 13 1'42.661    
2 Finland Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 15 1'42.724 0.063 0.063
3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 10 1'42.798 0.137 0.074
4 Finland Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes Mercedes 13 1'43.464 0.803 0.666
5 Netherlands Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 10 1'44.048 1.387 0.584
6 Australia Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 13 1'44.479 1.818 0.431
7 Monaco Charles Leclerc  Sauber Ferrari 12 1'44.963 2.302 0.484
8 Mexico Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes 10 1'45.341 2.680 0.378
9 Germany Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Renault 17 1'45.464 2.803 0.123
10 France Esteban Ocon  Force India Mercedes 13 1'45.485 2.824 0.021
11 Sweden Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 11 1'45.536 2.875 0.051
12 France Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 12 1'45.814 3.153 0.278
13 Spain Carlos Sainz   Renault Renault 13 1'45.925 3.264 0.111
14 Denmark Kevin Magnussen  Haas Ferrari 12 1'46.087 3.426 0.162
15 France Pierre Gasly  Toro Rosso Honda 16 1'46.182 3.521 0.095
16 New Zealand Brendon Hartley  Toro Rosso Honda 17 1'46.259 3.598 0.077
17 Canada Lance Stroll  Williams Mercedes 10 1'46.502 3.841 0.243
18 Russian Federation Sergey Sirotkin  Williams Mercedes 11 1'46.630 3.969 0.128
19 Spain Fernando Alonso  McLaren Renault 16 1'46.942 4.281 0.312
20 Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne  McLaren Renault 14 1'47.061 4.400 0.119
shares
comments
Force India engine status clarified as prize money doubts remain

Previous article

Force India engine status clarified as prize money doubts remain

Next article

Customers offered new engine spec that Renault won't use

Customers offered new engine spec that Renault won't use
Load comments
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Prime

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Tim Wright.

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Prime

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? Stuart Codling talks to the man in charge.

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory Prime

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Prime

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021