Red Bull’s Max Verstappen emerged fastest in Friday Practice at 2021 Belgian Grand Prix.
Verstappen finished FP1 second quickest but ultimately prevailed in FP2 with the fastest time of the day, despite ending the day in the barriers after a spin which curtailed the latter session prematurely.
The midfield battle meanwhile looks set to be fiercely fought with several teams evenly matched with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso heading that particular battle.
Now here is a full roundup of Friday’s F1 action across both practice sessions.
The session began in damp conditions following a heavy shower after the F3 Practice session but quickly dried, despite many opting for installation laps on the intermediate tyres.
McLaren’s Lando Norris was first out on slick tyres as he opted for the medium compound and set an early benchmark of 1m 50.191 on a “completely dry” circuit, which led to several cars quickly venturing out to take advantage of dry conditions.
Kimi Raikkonen and Yuki Tsunoda soon went spinning on hard tyres at La Source hairpin as times quickly tumbled with Max Verstappen fastest at the halfway mark of the session, having set a 1m 46.879 to lead Carlos Sainz and Esteban Ocon as various drivers busy conducted data gathering.
Rain was forecast in the closing stages but held off long enough for drivers to bank some Qualifying simulation laps on the soft tyre, as Valtteri Bottas emerged fastest of the session on a 1m 45.199 ahead of Verstappen, Pierre Gasly and Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz who rounded out the top five.
Lewis Hamilton meanwhile was 18th quickest overall on hard tyres after failing to set a time on the soft tyre after backing off on his flier towards the end, in a session where he conducted high downforce data gathering whilst Bottas studied Mercedes’ low downforce package.
|1||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||1m 45.199|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.164|
|3||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 0.500|
|4||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.619|
|5||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 0.736|
|6||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 0.928|
|7||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 0.978|
|8||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.137|
|9||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 1.298|
|10||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 1.413|
|11||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 1.450|
|12||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 1.484|
|13||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.556|
|14||George Russell||Williams||+ 1.573|
|15||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 1.729|
|16||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 1.902|
|17||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 2.926|
|18||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 3.025|
|19||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 3.506|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||+ 3.860|
FP2 began like FP1 did with damp conditions but the track swiftly dried up with Norris again setting the early benchmark, as he posted 1m 48.219 on hard tyres.
Times however quickly tumbled with Bottas going quickest at end of opening runs with 1m 44.513 which was 0.031 seconds quicker than Hamilton with Verstappen sat third ahead of Sergio Perez and Gasly.
Verstappen however was the only driver to find times on his soft tyre qualifying simulation as he topped the session with 1m 44.472, as Bottas headed Hamilton in second and third with Fernando Alonso fourth quickest ahead of Pierre Gasly.
Race simulations however were interrupted twice with two red flag periods as Charles Leclerc first brought out a seven minute red flag, after losing the rear-end of his Ferrari at Les Combes and spinning off into the barriers.
Max Verstappen then suffered a spin on the exit of the same corner as he clipped the outside kerb on the exit which sent his Red Bull spinning and dispersing gravel across the track, thus causing a session-ending red flag with two minutes left.
Sergio Perez found himself tenth quickest after failing to set a time on the soft tyres, despite having announced a contract extension at Red Bull for 2022 in-between sessions.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1m 44.472|
|2||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 0.041|
|3||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.072|
|4||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 0.481|
|5||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 0.493|
|6||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 0.708|
|7||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 0.830|
|8||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 0.864|
|9||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 0.914|
|10||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 0.932|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 1.045|
|12||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 1.286|
|13||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.317|
|14||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.495|
|15||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 1.646|
|16||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 1.726|
|17||George Russell||Williams||+ 2.193|
|18||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 2.364|
|19||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||+ 2.863|
|20||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 3.057|