Connect with us

2018 F1

2018 Belgium Grand Prix : Practice Analysis

Published

on

Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen lead both the free practice sessions on the Friday of the Belgium Grand Prix weekend at the Circuit de Francorchamps in Spa. While the German topped the time-sheets with the quickest lap in FP1 the Finnish driver topped the time sheets in FP2. Mercedes drivers were second and third in both sessions with Lewis Hamilton leading Valtteri Bottas in both sessions.

In the sprint runs of the Free Practice sessions, the Ferraris look the quickest, while Mercedes are second quickest. Both these teams have come to this race weekend with upgraded power units. Unlike the previous circuits on the calendar, this one is often a power sensitive circuit, and teams tend to bring upgrades here. Mercedes confirmed that both Bottas and Hamilton would have the upgraded power unit at this circuit along with other changed components which might incur grid penalties.

In the first and second sector of the lap it was a close call between the Ferraris and the Mercedes drivers where the former was quicker in the first and the latter in the long and complex second sector. Red Bull Racing driver Verstappen was consistently quick in the final sector which is the quicker section of the circuit.

Here are the fastest sector times from both the sessions:

Session Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3
FP1 30.454 (Bottas) 44.951 (Vettel) 28.605 (Verstappen)
FP2 30.334 (Raikkonen) 44.341 (Hamilton) 24.480 (Verstappen)

Hamilton and Raikkonen are two drivers to look out for at this race weekend, since this circuit suits their driving styles and both have often looked exceptionally comfortable at this circuit, which has an undulated terrain and long flowing corners. Their performance around this circuit, remains a benchmark for their own teams and several drivers down the grid. In a free practice session, they are normally the two drivers who draw most of the focus and attention.

In the mid-field, newly renamed Racing Point Force India driver, Sergio Perez and Renault driver Carlos Sainz occupied the seventh and eighth spot in FP2 while in FP1 it was Esteban Ocon in seventh place and Nico Hulkenberg with the eighth fastest time. Sauber drivers Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc sat comfortably at ninth and tenth place in the FP2 session, with the swede being quicker than the Monagasque. The Alfa Romeo team could be a permanent contender for the top 10 finishes this weekend. However, their Ferrari powered counterparts, the Haas team, seemed to be far outside the top 10 in both practice sessions.

The average lap times on the respective compounds in the race simulations of the FP2 session were as follows:

Driver Supersoft Soft Medium
Raikkonen 1: 48.740  (5 laps) 1: 49.081 (4 laps) NA
Vettel NA 1: 48.674  (3 laps) 1: 48.229 (5 laps)
Hamilton 1: 48. 642 (4 laps) NA 1: 48.868 (5 laps)
Bottas 1: 48. 273 (3 laps) 1:48.352 (5 laps) NA
Verstappen 1: 48.865 (4 laps) 1:48.727 (5 laps) NA
Ricciardo 1: 49.493 (5 laps) 1:49.264 (3 laps) NA

In terms of long run pace or speed in race trims, the Ferraris look the quickest on the medium compound and are strangely about six tenths of a second quicker than the Mercedes, according to the comparison of averages between Hamilton and Vettel who carried out simulations on the white compound. On the soft tyre, Valtteri Bottas lap time average is the quickest, followed by Vettel who’s second quickest and Verstappen who’s third quickest. The difference between the Mercedes and Ferrari on the yellow striped tyre compound, was almost three tenths of a second. However in terms of the supersoft compound tyre, Bottas time is not representative since he completed a total of three laps on that tyre, carrying heavier fuel loads. So that would lead to Hamilton’s average lap time becoming the benchmark of the fastest car, followed by Raikkonen’s average lap time as the second quickest, and Verstappen’s as third quickest. Amongst the top six cars, Ricciardo seemed to be lagging behind the most, with his average lap times clocking in the range of the 1 minute 49 second bracket, similar to the mid-field teams like Renault or Racing Point Force India.

The qualifying session should be a close call between the Ferraris and the Mercedes, but Mercedes fate could also depend on the number of grid penalties they get for changed components. It is still uncertain whether Bottas alone will take penalties or it will be both drivers. But in terms of time-sheets, one could see a close fight between Raikkonen, Hamilton and Vettel. The race could be interesting since it is a long circuit, and demanding on both power, aerodynamics and tyres. So one could see two-stop strategies pan out during the race. This circuit has been known for first lap incidents and safety car periods in case of rainy weather. Therefore, the outcome for both Saturday and Sunday could be a bit unpredictable. There could be a guaranteed double podium for the Ferraris, and it could be one of those race weekends where Raikkonen could end 105 race long winless streak.

Loading...

Comments

Latest Results

Latest F1 News

2019 F117 hours ago

Ocon not denying Haas, Williams rumours

Esteban Ocon has not denied rumours that he is a top candidate for a seat at Haas or Williams for...

2019 F117 hours ago

Binotto has no doubt about Vettel future

Ferrari’s team boss says Sebastian Vettel is not leaving the Maranello team. After the German’s latest significant mistake when he...

2019 F117 hours ago

Teams must agree on tyre design for 2020 – Isola

Mario Isola has defended Pirelli by denying that the official F1 tyre supplier favours Mercedes. The Italian company’s F1 boss...

2019 F12 days ago

Binotto no longer Ferrari technical boss

Mattia Binotto is no longer Ferrari’s technical director. With the ousting of Maurizio Arrivabene, Binotto was promoted from technical boss...

2019 F12 days ago

Albers would return to F1 as team boss

Christijan Albers says he would accept an offer to return to Formula 1 as a team boss. The former Minardi...

2019 F12 days ago

More trouble for 2021 Rio GP

It is not smooth sailing for the new Formula 1 track in Rio de Janeiro. Last month, we reported that...

2019 F12 days ago

Title battle between me and Lewis – Bottas

Valtteri Bottas thinks he is in a head-to-head battle for the 2019 title with his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton. After...

2019 F12 days ago

No regrets about leaving Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo says he has no regrets about leaving Red Bull. The Australian stunned the F1 world last year by...

2019 F12 days ago

Vettel enduring difficult period – Prost

Sebastian Vettel is struggling through a “very difficult period”. That is the view of F1 legend Alain Prost, who today...

2019 F15 days ago

McLaren cannot win unless F1 changes – Seidl

Andreas Seidl says McLaren cannot return to title-winning form unless Formula 1 changes. The German, who arrives from Porsche’s Le...

Most Popular

ThisisF1.com is not affiliated with Formula 1, Formula One Management, Formula One Administration, Formula One Licensing BV, Formula One World Championship Ltd or any other organization or entity associated with the official Formula One governing organizations or their shareholders. Copyrighted material used under Fair Use/Fair Comment.

References
We could use the following leading F1 news sources for stories: SkyF1, BBC F1, Autosport, ESPN F1, FIA Media Center, MotorSport, JamesAllen and others leading authors blog.

All Rights Reserved © 2017 Prime Sport Media