Formula 1 Resumes in Belgium, Räikkönen Fastest in Friday Practice

Back from a refreshing summer break, Kimi Räikkönen was the fastest in Friday free practice for the Belgian Grand Prix.

byJames Gilboy|
F1 photo

After a not-at-all restful summer break involving the launch of his biography, Kimi Räikkönen returned to racing at Spa-Francorchamps as the fastest man in Friday practice for the Belgian Grand Prix. His partner in crimson Sebastian Vettel took things at a more leisurely pace, his best time on Friday almost eight-tenths off Kimi's best. Given the pair's performance over the last few years, a reversal of this order in qualifying on Saturday is likely.

Right on Kimi's heels is Mercedes once again, Lewis Hamilton almost three-tenths up on Valtteri Bottas. Following are the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, in that order, split by the Ferrari of Vettel. The effects of Red Bull's new fuel reportedly worth 0.15 seconds have not yet been seen.

Resurgent Sergio Perez sits on the best-of-the-rest throne in seventh, closer to the Red Bull in front of him than the Renault behind. Perez's insinuation that his performance would improve with the salvation of his team (newly-renamed Racing Point Force India) holds true so far—Esteban Ocon is more than a second adrift as of this point in the race weekend.

The bottom six are made up solely by three teams: Toro Rosso-Honda, McLaren and Williams, led by Pierre Gasly. Gasly may be spurred on by his promotion to Red Bull coming in 2019, his closest companion Fernando Alonso by announcement of his retirement from Formula 1 after the season. Alonso's Belgian teammate Stoffel Vandoorne has no apparent home field advantage; he sits dead last at present.

A full index of best practice times can be found below.

  1. Kimi Räikkönen/Ferrari - 1:43.355, -1.363 from FP1
  2. Lewis Hamilton/Mercedes - 1:43.523, -1.153 from FP1
  3. Valtteri Bottas/Mercedes - 1:43.803, -0.921 from FP1
  4. Max Verstappen/Red Bull - 1:44.046, -0.463 from FP1
  5. Sebastian Vettel/Ferrari - 1:44.129, -0.229 from FP1
  6. Daniel Ricciardo/Red Bull - 1:44.250, -1.308 from FP1
  7. Sergio Perez/Force India - 1:44.662, -1.507 from FP1
  8. Carlos Sainz Jr./Renault - 1:45.481, -0.729 from FP1
  9. Marcus Ericsson/Alfa Romeo Sauber - 1:45.537, -1.020 from FP1
  10. Charles Leclerc/Alfa Romeo Sauber - 1:45.622, -0.932 from FP1
  11. Nico Hülkenberg/Renault - 1:45.753, -0.198 from FP1
  12. Esteban Ocon/Force India - 1:45.786, +0.149 in FP2
  13. Romain Grosjean/Haas - 1:45.817, -0.570 from FP1
  14. Kevin Magnussen/Haas - 1:46.078, -0.934 from FP1
  15. Pierre Gasly/Toro Rosso-Honda - 1:46.080, -0.220 from FP1
  16. Fernando Alonso/McLaren - 1:46.153 (no FP1 time)
  17. Brendon Hartley/Toro Rosso-Honda - 1:46.337, -0.595 from FP1
  18. Sergey Sirotkin/Williams - 1:46.451, -0.916 from FP1
  19. Lance Stroll/Williams - 1:46.470, -0.495 from FP1
  20. Stoffel Vandoorne/McLaren - 1:46.496, -0.956 from FP1
  21. Lando Norris/McLaren - 1:47.364 (reserve driver)