Red Bull’s Max Verstappen topped Friday Practice at 2022 Belgian Grand Prix as F1 returned from the summer break.
Verstappen largely dominated both Practice sessions despite missing out on the fastest FP1 time to Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, although he will take a power unit penalty and start the race at the back of the grid alongside Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Esteban Ocon, Valtteri Bottas and Mick Schumacher.
This race weekend also sees the introduction of new floor rules in order to minimise porpoising issues experienced by many teams this season, although mixed weather conditions delivered another challenge for the grid.
Now, here is a roundup of everything that unfolded across FP1 and FP2 at Circuit Spa Francorchamps.
Following lunchtime rain showers, FP1 began in cloudy conditions as drivers quickly reported a dry surface with Sainz setting the initial pace, until Lando Norris on soft tyres in the ninth minute set 1m 49.712 to go top.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen however was unbeatable in the opening half-hour on soft tyres as he eventually lowered his benchmark time to 1m 46.755 in a frantic opening half-hour, which saw some teams focus on data gathering for new upgrades and test items.
Once attention switched to the soft-tyre run for those who had run hard or medium tyres in their opening stints, Sainz went top in the 33rd minute with 1m 46.538 ahead of Charles Leclerc by 0.069 seconds but the red flag came out in the 38th minute after Haas’ Kevin Magnussen suffered a hybrid issue.
The session resumed 14 minutes later but a shower during the stoppage had begun to sweep in across Spa Francorchamps, ultimately arriving at Stavelot which forced everyone to return to the pit lane as too wet for slick tyres that they had ventured out on.
Sainz consequently finished fastest ahead of Leclerc, Verstappen, George Russell and Lance Stroll as the top eight set their quickest times on soft tyres, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez who were ninth and tenth on medium and hard tyres respectively.
Sebastian Vettel finished 15th but also set his time on the medium tyre, whilst F1 debutant – Liam Lawson who replaced Pierre Gasly for FP1 only finished 19th on the hard tyre, ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas who failed to register a lap time.
|1||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||1m 46.538|
|2||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.069|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.217|
|4||George Russell||Mercedes||+ 0.858|
|5||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 0.899|
|6||Alex Albon||Williams||+ 1.297|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 1.543|
|8||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 1.772|
|9||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 1.882|
|10||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 1.936|
|11||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 1.947|
|12||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||+ 2.134|
|13||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 2.932|
|14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 3.126|
|15||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 3.275|
|16||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 3.777|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 4.444|
|18||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 4.721|
|19||Liam Lawson||AlphaTauri||+ 5.527|
|20||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||No Time Set|
With parts of the circuit still damp following earlier showers, Verstappen set the initial pace as many opted for mixture of hard and medium tyres for their opening stints, as he initially set a lap time of 1m 47.699 on the medium tyres.
The championship leader then twice lowered his benchmark lap time to ultimately 1m 46.850 ahead of Sainz and Leclerc, with Perez and Yuki Tsunoda rounding out the top five once opening stints were completed.
Attention soon turned to Qualifying simulations from which Verstappen finished quickest with 1m 45.507 ahead of Leclerc, Norris, Stroll and Sainz as rain eventually began to drizzle throughout the last half-hour of FP2 which caused Mick Schumacher to run wide in closing minutes on exit of Les Combes.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1m 45.507|
|2||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.862|
|3||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.082|
|4||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 1.128|
|5||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 1.142|
|6||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 1.386|
|7||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 1.468|
|8||George Russell||Mercedes||+ 1.535|
|9||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 1.748|
|10||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 1.839|
|11||Alex Albon||Williams||+ 2.013|
|12||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||+ 2.110|
|13||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 2.151|
|14||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 2.275|
|15||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 2.360|
|16||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 2.437|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 2.701|
|18||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||+ 2.912|
|19||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 3.105|
|20||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 4.434|