Belgian GP: Bottas pips Hamilton, Verstappen in FP1

Valtteri Bottas set the pace in the opening Formula 1 practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix, leading a 1-2 finish for Mercedes ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

Belgian GP: Bottas pips Hamilton, Verstappen in FP1

After seeing Max Verstappen set the initial pace on Friday morning at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on the medium tyre, Bottas jumped to the top of the standings after switching to the soft compound Pirellis.

Bottas recorded a fastest time of 1m44.493s to claim P1 in first practice and narrowly beat Hamilton, who set his lap just moments after his teammate but fell 0.069 seconds short.

Verstappen was able to run both Mercedes drivers close after making a slightly later switch to soft tyres, but was 0.081 seconds shy of Bottas' benchmark come the end of the session.

None of the leading three drivers opted for multiple attempts at the fastest time through a quiet opening practice at Spa that was not interrupted by a single stoppage or yellow flag.

Bottas suffered a front-left puncture during a race simulation run on the soft tyres late in the session, but was able to easily get back to the pits.

The session saw Racing Point continue its historic good form at Spa as Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll took fourth and fifth place respectively. Perez lapped just 0.136s off Bottas' leading time, with Stroll finishing a further two-tenths of a second behind.

Alexander Albon ended the session sixth for Red Bull, almost half a second down on teammate Verstappen.

Esteban Ocon was the leading Renault in opening practice at Spa, finishing seventh as Daniel Ricciardo ended the session ninth overall, one-tenth of a second behind his teammate.

The Renault drivers were split by McLaren's Carlos Sainz in eighth, while Lando Norris completed the top 10 in the sister McLaren MCL35.

Norris provoked an angry reaction from Pierre Gasly early in the session after the AlphaTauri driver felt he was held up by the McLaren at Stavelot, but the incident was not noted by the stewards.

Gasly finished the session 12th behind teammate Daniil Kvyat, with both drivers setting their best times on the medium compound tyre.

Kimi Raikkonen took 13th for Alfa Romeo ahead of the Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel, whose anticipated struggles on the straights left them well off the pace.

2019 Spa race winner Leclerc was 1.2 seconds off Bottas' time, while Vettel finished a further four-tenths of a second back.

Williams drivers Nicholas Latifi and George Russell finished 16th and 17th respectively, finishing ahead of Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean and Antonio Giovinazzi, all of whom failed to set a time.

Grosjean reported a loss of power on his Haas F1 car early in the session, with the team confirming it was set to change the Ferrari power unit as a result of the issue. Magnussen's engine also had to be removed due to a similar problem.

Alfa Romeo said that Giovinazzi's car had suffered a "technical issue", limiting him to just two installation laps in FP1.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 18 1'44.493  
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 17 1'44.562 0.069
3 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 20 1'44.574 0.081
4 Mexico Sergio Perez Racing Point 22 1'44.629 0.136
5 Canada Lance Stroll Racing Point 22 1'44.868 0.375
6 Thailand Alex Albon Red Bull 22 1'45.049 0.556
7 France Esteban Ocon Renault 20 1'45.099 0.606
8 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren 24 1'45.222 0.729
9 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Renault 21 1'45.225 0.732
10 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 28 1'45.274 0.781
11 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri 25 1'45.447 0.954
12 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 17 1'45.503 1.010
13 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 19 1'45.704 1.211
14 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 18 1'45.759 1.266
15 Germany Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 15 1'46.179 1.686
16 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 19 1'46.488 1.995
17 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 21 1'46.570 2.077
18 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas 1    
19 France Romain Grosjean Haas 2    
20 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 2    
shares
comments

Related video

Verstappen: Red Bull "definitely overachieved" in 2020
Previous article

Verstappen: Red Bull "definitely overachieved" in 2020

Next article

F1 to use outer Bahrain 'oval' layout for second grand prix

F1 to use outer Bahrain 'oval' layout for second grand prix
Load comments
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage Prime

How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage

There was simply no stopping Lewis Hamilton on Formula 1's first visit to Qatar. The Mercedes driver eased to pole position and led every lap to secure an utterly dominant victory - even without a key Mercedes weapon in his arsenal to increase the heat on Red Bull heading into the final two races of the gripping 2021 title race

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021