Belgian GP: Raikkonen pips Hamilton in FP1

Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest time in first practice for the Belgian Grand Prix as Formula 1 returned from its summer break at Spa-Francorchamps.

Belgian GP: Raikkonen pips Hamilton in FP1
Jo Bauer, FIA Technical Delegate watches Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08 with halo
Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Carlos Sainz Jr., Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 and cameraman
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, with halo device
Mercedes-Benz F1 W08 with halo
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08 with halo

The Ferrari driver pipped title contenders Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel to top spot in the opening session, though had to use ultrasoft tyres to defeat the soft-shod Hamilton.

Force India's Esteban Ocon spent the opening half an hour of the session quickest, as he was the only driver to have completed a flying lap when Felipe Massa crashed after 15 minutes.

Massa ran wide across the gravel at the exit of Malmedy, the Turn 7 right-hander after Les Combes, and crunched the front left of his Williams into the tyre barrier.

The session was stopped for 10 minutes and when running resumed Ocon's 1m48.962s was swiftly beaten by teammate Sergio Perez and Raikkonen, before Daniel Ricciardo and Hamilton started posting more representative lap times.

Ricciardo made good use of ultrasoft tyres to post a 1m46.656s, but Hamilton soon made P1 his own.

He went quickest just before the 90-minute session's halfway mark on a 1m46.439s on supersoft tyres, and went almost a second faster in the final half an hour on softs.

He had to abort his first flying lap on softs when Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas suffered an odd trip into the gravel on the exit of the Turn 11/12 chicane before Stavelot.

Bottas appeared to be getting out of the way of a McLaren on the right-hand side and dipped a wheel off-track, which caused him to slide across the gravel and lightly bump the tyre barrier.

As he slowly got his Mercedes out of trouble and back to the pits, Hamilton stayed out on the same set of tyres and pumped in a 1m45.555s to leap a second clear of Ricciardo.

Vettel made a late switch to ultrasoft tyres and fell a tenth short of Hamilton, but when Raikkonen made the same change with five minutes to go he edged ahead of Hamilton by 0.053s.

Max Verstappen used his ultrasofts to jump ahead of Ricciardo with 20 minutes remaining, as the Red Bull ended up 0.8s slower than Raikkonen.

Bottas's error consigned him to sixth, ahead of Carlos Sainz, Ocon, Daniil Kvyat and Stoffel Vandoorne.

McLaren driver Vandoorne joined Hamilton and Sauber's Marcus Ericsson in trialling the controversial halo cockpit protection device at the start of FP1, with Vandoorne and Hamilton returning to the pits at the end of their out-lap while Ericsson continued onto a second.

Fernando Alonso's return to F1 track action in the second McLaren lasted just five minutes before he suffered a fresh bout of Honda engine woe.

The Spaniard is running an updated internal combustion engine this weekend, but he reported "no power" on his out-lap and crawled back to the pits.

He emerged soon after the red flag and, despite his DRS shutting off "sluggishly", found enough reliability to set the 13th-fastest time.

ClaDriverChassisEngineLapsTimeGap
1 finland Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 13 1'45.502  
2 united_kingdom Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 19 1'45.555 0.053
3 germany Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 13 1'45.647 0.145
4 netherlands Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 18 1'46.302 0.800
5 australia Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 22 1'46.352 0.850
6 finland Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes Mercedes 20 1'46.424 0.922
7 spain Carlos Sainz Jr.  Toro Rosso Renault 22 1'47.446 1.944
8 france Esteban Ocon  Force India Mercedes 27 1'47.670 2.168
9 russia Daniil Kvyat  Toro Rosso Renault 20 1'47.851 2.349
10 belgium Stoffel Vandoorne  McLaren Honda 18 1'47.865 2.363
11 united_kingdom Jolyon Palmer  Renault Renault 14 1'47.930 2.428
12 germany Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Renault 15 1'48.037 2.535
13 spain Fernando Alonso  McLaren Honda 18 1'48.252 2.750
14 mexico Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes 19 1'48.452 2.950
15 canada Lance Stroll  Williams Mercedes 24 1'48.541 3.039
16 denmark Kevin Magnussen  Haas Ferrari 20 1'48.615 3.113
17 france Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 20 1'48.626 3.124
18 sweden Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 21 1'50.160 4.658
19 germany Pascal Wehrlein  Sauber Ferrari 13 1'51.263 5.761
20 brazil Felipe Massa  Williams Mercedes 3    
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