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Formula 1 Belgian GP

F1 Belgian GP Live Commentary and Updates - FP1 & Qualifying

Friday's action from the 12th round of the 2023 Formula 1 season

F1’s final race before the summer break sees the return of the sprint race schedule, meaning Friday’s timetable is transformed into a single practice session followed by qualifying for Sunday’s grand prix.

Max Verstappen will carry a five-place grid penalty into the Belgian GP due to exceeding his gearbox allocation for the season with his Red Bull.

The Dutch driver currently leads the standings by 110 points from team-mate Sergio Perez and comes into this weekend off the back of seven consecutive victories.

The single free practice session starts at 12:30pm BST at Spa-Francorchamps, with qualifying taking place at 4pm BST.

By: Lewis Duncan, Haydn Cobb, Sam Hall

Summary
  • Verstappen tops qualifying and will start from P6 after a five-place gearbox penalty is applied
  • Leclerc will start from pole position with Perez also on the front row
  • Ricciardo suffered a Q1 exit after exceeding track limits and losing his best time
Leaderboard - Q3
  1. Max Verstappen - Red Bull [+5 place penalty]
  2. Charles Leclerc - Ferrari
  3. Sergio Perez - Red Bull
  4. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes
  5. Carlos Sainz - Ferrari
  6. Oscar Piastri - McLaren
  7. Lando Norris - McLaren
  8. George Russell - Mercedes
  9. Fernando Alonso - Aston Martin
  10. Lance Stroll - Aston Martin
Status: Stopped
With Belgian GP qualifying in the books, we'll call time on this live coverage for the day. Never fear, the F1 action resumes tomorrow, with sprint qualifying starting at 11am BST. Until then, have a lovely rest of your Friday! Go well!
Here's the full report on Belgian GP qualifying:

https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/f1-belgian-gp-verstappen-dominates-for-pole-despite-grid-penalty/10501298/
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Michael Potts / Motorsport Images

But, for a day, the F1 pack can forget all about the main event as tomorrow's focus is solely on sprint qualifying and the sprint race.
So, Verstappen will start Sunday's grand prix from sixth place due to his grid penalty. Last year he made light work of fighting to the front from 14th on the grid, so he's got a headstart on that.
Verstappen on his Q2 scare: "It was very tight. The conditions were really tricky and on my final lap in Q2 I didn't have that confidence to push. But in Q3 we had two tyre sets, so we had more chance to push more."
Verstappen apologises to Lambiase over team radio as he reflects on his mega Q3 lap. His race engineer replies that he is "slowly getting used to it".
That is a stunning gap to pull out over the rest. To put it into context, a 0.8s gap that splits Verstappen to Leclerc covers Leclerc in second down to Alonso in ninth!
Verstappen heads Q3 by a stunning 0.820s! But with his five-place grid penalty it means Leclerc will start the Belgian GP from pole position ahead of Perez.
But there's Verstappen who puts in a 1m46.168s to top qualifying!
Sainz misses out to go second, then Piastri misses out to go third...
Russell is last across the line to start his final flying lap by just two seconds - that was very close!
As things stand, the fight for pole is between both Ferraris, Red Bull's Verstappen and potentially both the McLarens.
Both Mercedes went for two bites at a fast lap in the first run, the second of which pushed Hamilton to sixth and Russell to ninth.
Sainz slots into third which would hand Ferrari a front row lockout as it stands due to Verstappen's grid penalty.
Leclerc beats Verstappen and Piastri to move on to provisional pole! His 1m47.931s gives him a 0.128s advantage over Verstappen.
First timed laps coming up, as Alonso sets the time to beat of 1m49.164s.
DRS has been enabled for this session, having been unavailable to the drivers in the wet conditions of Q1 and Q2. Alonso leads the 10-car train out for the first runs.
Just five teams contesting Q3 with the pair of Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren and Aston Martin drivers in the top 10. Exactly as they were at the end of the Hungarian GP.
There's a few running repairs and tidy ups going on in the team garages during this pause in the action.
An impeding incident between Leclerc and Magnussen will be investigated after qualifying. Meanwhile, Verstappen and race engineer Lambiase get lippy with each other, with the Dutch driver clearly unhappy with his Q2 runs.
This Q3 session is wide open due to the track conditions. Who are you predicting for pole?
The start of Q3 will be delayed, presumably for a quick track clear up following Ocon's off which dragged debris on to the track.
Out in Q2: P11 Tsunoda, P12 Gasly, P13 Magnussen, P14 Bottas, P15 Ocon.
Verstappen makes it into Q3 in 10th place! That was close for the Red Bull driver! Piastri tops Q2!
Every driver is improving on their final laps, so this is going right to the wire...
Norris on top for now with a 1m54.051s. Ocon is out in Q2 as he drops into the 11th.
Perez puts in a 1m55.151s but the quicker times are flying in now.
Ocon overcooks it at Turn 9 and clips the wall to rip off the right-hand side of his front wing. That's his Q2 over.