Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen topped the opening practice session of the Belgian GP ahead of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Raikkonen’s teammate, Sebastian Vettel. However, Raikkonen had strapped on a set of Ultrasoft tires while Hamilton had used Soft tires. In the opening half hour of the session, Force India’s Esteban Ocon impressed by going fastest.
The session was interrupted when Felipe Massa lost control of his Williams at Malmedy and clouted the barriers. On the restart, Ocon quickly tumbled down the order. Valtteri Bottas also had an excursion to the gravel trap but was able to continue without taking any damage. Meanwhile, Hamilton set a 1:45.555 to go fastest ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo. Vettel tried to challenge the Englishman but fell short by a couple of tenths. Raikkonen on the other hand took over the top spot. Bottas’ off track excursion left him down in 6th position.
Stoffel Vandoorne in the McLaren trialled the controversial HALO along with Hamilton and Marcus Ericsson. Fernando Alonso’s McLaren broke down, as usual, despite running an ‘updated’ internal combustion engine. The Spaniard limped back to the pitlane and it was session over. After the red flag came out, courtesy Massa, Alonso returned to the race track but suffered Drag Reduction System issues. However, he did manage to set the 13th fastest lap time. Raikkonen lead from Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Bottas, Sainz Jr, Ocon, Kvyat and Vandoorne