Carlos Sainz outpaced Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc at the fastest time in opening practice disrupted by rain for the Belgian Grand Prix, the first action on the track since Formula One’s return from its summer break.
The Spaniard clocked 1m 46.538sec on soft surfaces to finish 0.069sec behind Leclerc, who will start at the back of the grid after Ferrari made engine component changes beyond his allocation.
Championship leader Max Verstappen came third, with George Russell’s Mercedes fourth and Aston Martin Lance Stroll fifth.
As it happens: Follow all the procedures from the first practice of the Belgian Grand Prix
Intermediate vehicles were the tires of choice when the session began in the install cycles, with the spa-strewn light rain continuing all morning. But conditions improved so quickly that the spots soon separated.
Verstappen, who will also start towards the rear of the grid after Red Bull installed a set of new engine components to fire the engine penalties, was the first to set the pace. But he was raped by the Ferrari duo.
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+ 0.069 seconds
Red Bull Racing
+ 0.217 seconds
+ 0.858 seconds
+ 0.899 seconds
But with 20 minutes left in the session, the session was red flagged after Kevin Magnussen was asked to stop Haas on the track, on the hill down to Eau Rouge-Raidillon. Haas President Guenther Steiner suggested that the problem was the high voltage.
As the session started again, the ample rainfall meant that no one else could do better.
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Alex Albon was sixth, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo – who would Leave McLaren At the end of the season after mutual agreement with the team to terminate his contract early.
AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda was eighth, with Liam Lawson borrowing the second car for FP1 in place of Pierre Gasly in his first race of the weekend, as part of rules dictating all teams run young drivers in at least two practice sessions – 19.
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Lewis Hamilton ranked ninth, ahead of Sergio Perez, while Nicholas Latifi was second to Williams 11.
Zhou Guanyu asked Alfa Romeo for a new helmet after it was lifting a lot on the straight line. He ended up 12th, with teammate Valtteri Bottas – who had taken a penalty shootout – failing to time in 20th.
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Lando Norris, who joined the drivers’ group with engine penalties, was 13th ahead of world champion Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.
Esteban Ocon — who also penalized engine component changes — spent much of the session in the garage with an undisclosed problem, with Magnussen and Mick Schumacher, who imposed the grid penalty on new control electronics and gearbox, 17 and 18, respectively.
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