Vettel tops practice, reliability issues for Ricciardo – FP1 Report

Belgian Grand Prix – Sebastian Vettel’s hopes of recovering from below-par weekends in Hockenheim and Budapest got off to a strong start as the Ferrari man set the pace in FP1.

The championship contender’s time of 1:44.358 was enough to beat Max Verstappen’s Red Bull by 0.151 of a second at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

The two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, as well as the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen all set times within half-a-second of Vettel’s target time.

Bottas’ weekend has already been set back by the news that he will be starting from the back of the grid due to exceeding his power unit component allocation.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo spent the majority of the session in the pit lane with technical troubles, but his one-and-only flying lap – on the softest available tyre – was good enough for sixth place, albeit 1.4 seconds off the pace and with driveability complaints.

In what could be considered a direct comparison of their drivers for a 2019 seat, Lando Norris participated in free practice one alongside Stoffel Vandoorne, taking Fernando Alonso’s car.

Notably, Norris was broadcast radioing the McLaren team to ask how is pace compared to Vandoorne.

Comparisons were limited, however, due to Vandoorne’s session being delayed by a problem with his braking system. He only completed half the number of laps that Norris managed.

In what was mostly an incident-free session, Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin had a harmless spin on the exit of Rivage.

To view the full results of the session, click here.

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Luke Murphy

As an FIA-accredited motor sport journalist, degree-level Motorsport Engineer and amateur karter, Luke's passion for motor sport is evident. He is one of the editors at FormulaSpy and one of the longest-standing members of the team.

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