Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global
Practice report
Formula 1 Belgian GP

F1 Belgian GP: Sainz fastest in washed out first practice

Carlos Sainz headed Formula 1 practice for the Belgian Grand Prix in a session interrupted by a red flag and heavy rain, setting a time 0.5s ahead of Oscar Piastri.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

The prelude to the sole practice session featured rain, and a wet track greeted the drivers as they sought to cram their sprint weekend preparation into the hour-long running.

Alex Albon was first to brave the conditions on the intermediate tyre, followed by team-mate Logan Sargeant, as Lewis Hamilton emerged on the wet tyre in his first run with Mercedes' new upgrades.

Albon set the first timed lap, a 2m08.394s, as rainfall began to slowly intensify in the early phases of the session. Hamilton's opener on wet tyres was 1.9 seconds slower than the Williams driver's time.

Although Albon looked set to improve on his first time, he was unable to slow down to successfully navigate the Bus Stop chicane and had to retreat to the pits after gathering his car out of the run-off.

Yuki Tsunoda placed his car above Hamilton's in the order by almost 0.2s, and subsequently held control of his AlphaTauri on his next visit to Eau Rouge as his car wiggled halfway up the hill to force him into driving over the Raidillon run-off.

The early running then quickly dried up as the standing water around the seven-kilometre Spa-Francorchamps grew with the worsening rain, although Sainz, Lando Norris, and Sergio Perez elected to brave the conditions on the wet tyres once the session's opening 15 minutes came to an end.

Sainz grabbed a 2m09.081s to slot in behind Albon as he continued to circulate around the circuit, while Norris joined a host of other emerging runners onto the intermediate tyre as track conditions looked to improve slightly.

Pierre Gasly had also taken to the track on the intermediate tyre and was set to beat Albon's lap, but locked up into the Bus Stop. Charles Leclerc instead took over at the top on the wet compound, setting a 2m08.148s.

Norris then eclipsed that on the intermediate tyre with 2m04.484s, 3.7s to the good over Leclerc, but was supplanted by team-mate Oscar Piastri's 2m03.792s. Sainz, on inters, then found half a second on Piastri to set a 2m03.207s.

Sargeant then produced a red flag having gone straight on at the end of the Kemmel Straight, stating that he "couldn't turn" as he applied right-hand lock on the steering wheel with no discernible effect, and came to rest at Les Combes as the car came to rest.

Once the circuit was opened for business once again with 20 minutes remaining, there were no takers as precipitation escalated to saturate the track surface even further.

Perez and Max Verstappen then broke the post-red flag deadlock and emerged on track with intermediate tyres, despite the proliferation of inclement weather suffusing the Ardennes. They managed an installation lap each, before returning to the drier climes of the pit garage.

The Aston Martins performed their own reconnaissance laps on the intermediate, also falling back to the pitlane at the end. Both Ferraris, Haases and Alfa Romeos emerged on the track at the very end of the session, as did Lewis Hamilton, to collect one final token lap.

15 drivers set representative times, with Norris's intermediate lap enough for third in the order ahead of Leclerc - who had the fastest lap on the wet tyre.

Perez was fifth fastest over Albon's session opening time, while Tsunoda was just over a tenth faster than the Haas of Kevin Magnussen.

Daniel Ricciardo's time on wets was good enough for ninth fastest, with Nico Hulkenberg completing the top 10 over Alonso, Hamilton, and George Russell. Valtteri Bottas and Zhou propped up the order of those who had set times, the latter having an off-track moment at Malmedy.

 
 
       
Driver Info
 
 
 
   
Cla Driver # Chassis Engine Laps Time Interval km/h
1 Spain C. Sainz Carlos Sainz Ferrari 55 Ferrari Ferrari 9 2'03.207   204.650
2 Australia O. Piastri Oscar Piastri McLaren 81 McLaren Mercedes 4 +0.585 0.585 203.683
3 United Kingdom L. Norris Lando Norris McLaren 4 McLaren Mercedes 4 +1.277 0.692 202.551
4 Monaco C. Leclerc Charles Leclerc Ferrari 16 Ferrari Ferrari 8 +4.941 3.664 196.759
5 Mexico S. Perez Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing 11 Red Bull Red Bull 5 +5.033 0.092 196.618
6 Thailand A. Albon Alex Albon Williams 23 Williams Mercedes 5 +5.187 0.154 196.383
7 Japan Y. Tsunoda Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 22 AlphaTauri Red Bull 8 +5.860 0.673 195.358
8 Denmark K. Magnussen Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team 20 Haas Ferrari 7 +6.022 0.162 195.114
9 Australia D. Ricciardo Daniel Ricciardo AlphaTauri 3 AlphaTauri Red Bull 7 +6.112 0.090 194.978
10 Germany N. Hulkenberg Nico Hulkenberg Haas F1 Team 27 Haas Ferrari 8 +6.835 0.723 193.894
11 Spain F. Alonso Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Racing 14 Aston Martin Mercedes 4 +7.076 0.241 193.535
12 United Kingdom L. Hamilton Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 44 Mercedes Mercedes 7 +7.092 0.016 193.511
13 United Kingdom G. Russell George Russell Mercedes 63 Mercedes Mercedes 7 +7.268 0.176 193.250
14 Finland V. Bottas Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 77 Alfa Romeo Ferrari 9 +8.878 1.610 190.895
15 China Z. Guanyu Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 24 Alfa Romeo Ferrari 8 +10.795 1.917 188.164
16 United States L. Sargeant Logan Sargeant Williams 2 Williams Mercedes 4      
17 Canada L. Stroll Lance Stroll Aston Martin Racing 18 Aston Martin Mercedes 5      
18 France P. Gasly Pierre Gasly Alpine 10 Alpine Renault 2      
19 France E. Ocon Esteban Ocon Alpine 31 Alpine Renault 2      
20 Netherlands M. Verstappen Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1 Red Bull Red Bull 2      
 

 

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article F1 live: Belgian GP qualifying as it happened
Next article F1 tyre blanket ban delayed to 2025

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global