Belgian GP: Hamilton flies in final Spa practice

World champion Lewis Hamilton set a blistering pace in final practice for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.

The Mercedes driver, who had been outpaced by teammate Nico Rosberg in the first two practice sessions, posted a best time of 1:48.984 to finish nearly half a second clear of the German ahead of qualifying.

Ferrari was Mercedes' closest challenger this time, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen finishing in third and fourth respectively.

Sergio Perez put Force India in the top five, as Red Bull had a more subdued session and finished down in sixth and seventh, with Daniel Ricciardo ahead of teammate Daniil Kvyat.

Nico Hulkenberg completed a strong session for Force India with the eighth fastest time, outpacing the Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, who completed the top 10.

McLaren endured another poor session, with Fernando Alonso's day coming to an early end with a suspected exhaust problem that was generating very high underbody temperatures very quickly.

The team had to dismantle the car to check the problem, and Alonso failed to set a time, having completed the installation lap only.

Teammate Jenson Button finished down in 17th, only ahead of the Manors.

Story of the session

The action started with a an incident involving Manor's Roberto Merhi, who spun under braking at the Bus Stop before he managed to continue.

Rosberg put Mercedes on top seven minutes into the session, but was soon relegated to second by Nico Hulkenberg, before Ricciardo became the first man to dip into the 1:50s some 10 minutes in.

Raikkonen moved to second place before he went off at Les Fanges, managing to return to the track after a trip through the gravel.

Hamilton went fastest after 15 minutes, the Briton outpacing Ricciardo by 0.045 seconds, still running on the medium tyres.

Ricciardo returned to P1 with his first run on soft tyres, the Red Bull driver setting a new benchmark of 1:49.930.

Teammate Kvyat made it a Red Bull 1-2 on top of the times with a time just half a tenth slower than the Australian.

Rosberg waited until the 47-minute mark to try the softer rubber, and he put it to good use, jumping to the head of the times with a 1:49.482, still over a tenth off his best from Friday.

Hamilton then set the quickest time of the weekend with the soft tyres as he became the first driver to lap in the 1:48s in the Mercedes, outpacing Rosberg by nearly half a second.

 

PosDriverCarTime/GapLaps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:48.984 15
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 0.498 19
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.645 17
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 0.880 19
5 Sergio Perez Force India 0.882 15
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 0.946 20
7 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 0.996 19
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1.016 15
9 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1.195 15
10 Felipe Massa Williams 1.463 15
11 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 1.568 20
12 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1.601 17
13 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1.615 21
14 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1.706 17
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 2.070 20
16 Romain Grosjean Lotus 2.203 18
17 Jenson Button McLaren 2.997 12
18 Will Stevens Marussia 5.278 16
19 Roberto Merhi Marussia 5.297 9
 20 Fernando Alonso McLaren no time 1

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Belgian GP
Sub-event Saturday practice
Track Spa-Francorchamps
Article type Practice report