Connect with us

2018 F1

2018 Belgium Grand Prix : Practice Analysis



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.


Latest Results

Latest F1 News

2019 F16 hours ago

Rumours denies zero Honda engine problems so far – Red Bull

Dr Helmut Marko has added his denial to speculation Red Bull is struggling with excessive vibration from the 2019 Honda...

2019 F16 hours ago

Renault fast but ‘Red Bull faster’ – Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg says Renault has a fight on its hands to stay fourth in 2019. The German actually ended the...

2019 F16 hours ago

Ferrari opponents ‘bluffing’ – Leclerc

Charles Leclerc has played down Ferrari’s new status as the 2019 favourite by saying teams ‘bluff’ in winter testing. After...

2019 F118 hours ago

Grosjean criticised change to the tyre rules for 2019 F1

Haas F1 speedy Romain Grosjean has criticised a change to the tyre rules for 2019. Pirelli says teams may no...

2019 F121 hours ago

Alonso ‘could’ attend Barcelona second test – McLaren

McLaren says Fernando Alonso will “maybe” be trackside at the Barcelona test next week. Earlier, there was speculation the now...

2019 F122 hours ago

Barcelona F1 Test 1 Results – Day 4 Full Results

Nico Hulkenberg sets fastest lap of testing so far; Previously, Alex Albon was fastest for Toro Rosso; Valtteri Bottas follows...

2019 F12 days ago

F1 champs Rosberg, Button to be TV pundits in 2019 season

Two former world champions will regularly be in the F1 paddock in 2019. Nico Rosberg has been signed up to...

2019 F12 days ago

Ferrari advantage ‘at least’ 5 tenths – Tost

Mere days into 2019 winter testing, it appears that Ferrari has a clear advantage. With Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc...

2019 F12 days ago

Barcelona F1 Test 1 Results – Day 3 Full Results

Daniil Kvyat goes fastest for Toro Rosso ahead of morning pace setter Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo. Williams car finally...

2019 F12 days ago

Barcelona F1 Test 1 Results – Day 3 First Half

Kimi Raikkonen sets fastest time for Alfa Romeo Racing ahead of launch break in the third day of testing ;...

Most Popular 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.

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