Vettel beats Red Bulls to Singapore Grand Prix pole, Hamilton fifth
Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position for Singapore Grand Prix, with Formula 1 world championship rival Lewis Hamilton down in fifth.
Ferrari driver Vettel set a time quick enough for pole position on his first run in Q3, during which all drivers used ultra-soft rubber, with a 1m39.669s.
He then survived a light brush of the wall at the right-hander coming out from under the grandstand on his second run to improve to a 1m39.491s to take pole from Red Bull driver Max Verstappen by 0.323 seconds.
Verstappen had set the pace in Q2, but after going second fastest on his first run in Q3 he was unable to improve on his second.
Daniel Ricciardo was third in the second Red Bull, but could only improve by 0.022s on his second run.
That left Kimi Raikkonen in fourth place, unable to carry his impressive first-sector pace into the second and third sectors of his final lap.
Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both qualified on the third row, with the gap between the two Mercedes team-mates almost seven tenths of a second.
Nico Hulkenberg was best-of-the rest in seventh for Renault, just ahead of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso.
The second McLaren-Honda of Stoffel Vandoorne was ninth, well ahead of 10th-placed Carlos Sainz Jr.
Renault driver Jolyon Palmer missed out on Q3 after being relegated to 11th by Alonso on the second runs in the second segment of qualifying.
Palmer failed to improve on his second set of tyres in Q2 thanks to a moment at the final corner, which the team suggested over the radio cost him 10th place.
Sergio Perez complained about having "no grip at all" on his second Q2 run and ended up 12th after being unable to improve on his first-run time.
Daniil Kvyat did improve on his second run, but only by enough to take 13th ahead of the second Force India of Esteban Ocon.
Romain Grosjean, who paid two visits to the Turn 7 escape road at the end of the back straight in Q1, didn’t post a time on his first run in Q2 and was unable to do better than 15th when he made his second attempt.
Kevin Magnussen was the fastest of those eliminated in Q1, having been relegated to 16th by Hulkenberg’s leap up the order.
Williams driver Felipe Massa was also knocked out in 17th after a difficult session.
He didn’t set a serious lap time on his first run because he clipped the wall at the exit of the Turn 20/21 right-left and suffered a right-rear puncture.
Massa then had a big moment in the fast left-hander at the end of his final flying lap, which ensured any faint hope he had of making Q2 was lost.
His team-mate Lance Stroll was 18th ahead of Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein, who also had a minor brush with the wall at the penultimate complex of corners.
Marcus Ericsson was last in the second Sauber, and will be given a five-place grid penalty thanks to a gearbox change triggered by damage suffered when he hit the wall during free practice three.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.814s||0.323s|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.840s||0.349s|
|10||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m42.056s||2.565s|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.246s||–|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m42.338s||–|
|14||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.760s||–|
Singapore GP FP3: Max Verstappen tops close final F1 practice
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen pipped Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to the fastest time in third and final Formula 1 practice for the Singapore Grand Prix.
Verstappen posted a 1m41.829s on the ultra-soft Pirelli tyres to finish 0.072 seconds clear of Vettel with Lewis Hamilton 0.142s off the pace in third.
But Verstappen was told to return to the pits slowly after reporting that the car was "shifting by itself" while Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo clipped the wall, forcing him to back out of his final attempt at a low-fuel run.
Both Red Bulls returned to the track in the final seconds of the session, suggesting that neither situation caused any lasting problems.
McLaren continued its strong pace at Marina Bay with Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne fourth and fifth respectively.
As the sun set, Vettel was the first driver to post a representative time, the Ferrari driver going quickest with 1m43.237s, but he clipped the wall on the exit of the penultimate corner in the process.
The Red Bulls hung back and didn’t head out for their timed laps until midway through the session with Verstappen going fastest and Ricciardo second, 0.268s adrift of his team-mate.
The session was red-flagged after Marcus Ericsson had a low-speed spin, sending his Sauber into the wall backwards just after he had driven under the grandstand towards the end of the lap.
Ericsson recovered to the pits with a damaged rear end, but the marshals needed just under 10 minutes to sweep away the debris from the accident.
There was a flurry of activity when the session was restarted, with Vettel setting the fastest first and second sectors to go quickest with a 1m41.901s, 0.348s quicker than Verstappen.
The Red Bulls headed out in a bid to respond, with Verstappen reclaiming top spot by just a fraction of a second.
Ricciardo, who topped both Friday practice sessions, had to back out of his effort when he clipped the wall, and he ended up sixth quickest.
Hamilton’s lap to go third left the top three split by just 0.142s.
Nico Hulkenberg was best of the rest in seventh for Renault, with Valtteri Bottas failing to improve on his final run and ending up six tenths adrift of Mercedes team-mate Hamilton.
Kimi Raikkonen, who said "not a lot of things made sense" for Ferrari in Friday practice, continued to struggle as he posted the ninth best time, eight tenths behind team-mate Vettel.
Force India’s Sergio Perez closed out the top 10, a tenth clear of team-mate Esteban Ocon.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m41.829s||12|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||0.688s||11|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1.181s||14|
|11||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1.280s||15|
|12||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1.527s||17|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1.745s||17|
Raikkonen: Not a lot made sense for Ferrari in Singapore GP practice
Kimi Raikkonen said "not a lot of things made sense" for Ferrari as the Formula 1 team struggled for pace in Friday practice for the Singapore Grand Prix.
Ahead of the weekend, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said Singapore’s Marina Bay street circuit would favour rivals Ferrari and Red Bull.
Red Bull lived up to that billing, with Daniel Ricciardo leading the way in both practice sessions, but Ferrari struggled and Raikkonen was the fastest of its two drivers in FP2 in ninth, 1.983 seconds off the pace.
Team-mate Sebastian Vettel was 11th, although the German failed to complete a representative low-fuel lap.
"Overall, it was a difficult day and not a lot of things made sense," said Raikkonen. "There is a lot to work on.
"It’s not exactly where we expected it to start but we work forward.
"I’m sure we can improve. It’s not the first time and it’s only Friday."
Vettel struggled to find a good balance in either of the 90-minute sessions and ruined his second attempt at a low-fuel lap in FP2 on ultra-soft tyres when he clipped the wall on the exit of Turn 10.
"It was not ideal, I didn’t mean to go off," he said.
"I was very lucky I could continue.
"It was a tricky session for us. The balance wasn’t quite there. But I think it’s in the car.
"I’m not yet happy, missing a bit the balance, then you miss a bit the confidence."
Vettel admitted Ferrari mades a few changes to the car that did not work and was hopeful the team could turn things around in time for Saturday’s qualifying session.
"We tried a couple of things," he said.
"I’m not sure they are the right things to do. Now we see what we can do tomorrow.
"It’s not the first Friday we’ve struggled. I’m pretty sure we’ll be close tomorrow.
"It’s clear both of us weren’t that happy today and we need to improve but I’m sure we have enough time to look at it and find a solution."
Singapore GP FP2: Ricciardo leads Verstappen in Red Bull 1-2
Daniel Ricciardo completed a Friday sweep for the Singapore Grand Prix, leading Red Bull Formula 1 team-mate Max Verstappen in second practice.
Ricciardo, who edged out Sebastian Vettel in Friday’s first session, clocked a 1m40.852s on his second flying lap on the ultra-soft tyres to finish 0.556s quicker than Verstappen.
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton was third, seven tenths off the pace, with title rival Vettel failing to complete a representative qualifying simulation in his Ferrari.
Ricciardo and Verstappen traded fastest laps in the early part of the 90-minute session when running the super-softs, with Ricciardo coming out on top.
Hamilton and Vettel were third and fourth during that phase, 0.428s and 1.027s off the pace respectively, but they were running the soft Pirelli tyres.
Valtteri Bottas was the first to switch to ultra-softs, but he could only slot into second, 0.027s off the pace, before team-mate Hamilton went quickest.
Ricciardo then reclaimed top spot with a 1m41.228s, 0.327s quicker than Hamilton, and then improved by nearly fourth tenths on his next lap.
Verstappen tried to respond by attempting a second flying lap, but he told the team on team radio that his tyres had gone and he backed off.
Vettel set the quickest first sector on his ultra-soft run, but he backed out of the lap when he was baulked by a Sauber.
He tried a second flier, but lost the rear end at Turn 10 and clobbered the wall, detaching an advertising hoarding which temporarily required the virtual safety car to be deployed.
Vettel did not attempt another low-fuel lap, instead turning his attention to long runs, and ended up 11th quickest with his best lap set on the soft tyres.
Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was only ninth quickest after his ultra-soft run, 1.983s off the pace.
Bottas was fourth quickest, ahead of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, with Stoffel Vandoorne the leading McLaren in sixth, 1.649s off the pace.
His team-mate Fernando Alonso was on course to improve his time, but had to back out of it when the virtual safety car was deployed for the Vettel incident, and he ended up seventh.
Sergio Perez was eighth, just over two tenths quicker than Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon in 10th.
Renault-bound Carlo Sainz Jr, who struggled with understeer on his long runs, was the leading Toro Rosso, nearly fourth tenths quicker than team-mate Daniil Kvyat, in 12th.
Sainz then went off down an escape road on his final lap, and had a near-miss with Vettel as he reversed back onto the track.
Romain Grosjean had a frustrating day, which included several off-track excursions, a spin and a telemetry issue, and ended up 18th, half a second and one place behind Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen.
|1||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m40.852s||–||33|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m41.408s||0.556s||28|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.826s||1.974s||35|
|10||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m43.054s||2.202s||34|
|12||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m43.236s||2.384s||38|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m43.608s||2.756s||32|
Singapore GP FP1: Daniel Ricciardo fastest for Red Bull
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo pipped Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to top spot in the opening Formula 1 free practice session for the Singapore Grand Prix.
Ricciardo posted a 1m42.489s on the second flying lap on his second set of ultra-soft tyres to secure the fastest time with 26 minutes remaining of the one-and-a-half hour session.
Vettel, also on his second flier on ultra-softs, posted a time 0.109s slower to take second five minutes later to deny Red Bull a one-two by relegating Max Verstappen to third place.
Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton set the pace during the early stages of the session using super-soft Pirelli rubber, when there were a few damp patches on the circuit, before they were shuffled back by Verstappen and Ricciardo’s first runs.
Bottas then capitalised on a near-empty track on fresh ultra-softs to climb to second briefly, but he was eventually pushed down to sixth, half-a-second slower than Hamilton and behind Force India driver Sergio Perez, who set his time with 15 minutes to go.
During the long runs, Bottas complained of a lack of rear grip, while Hamilton had a brief off at the slow Turn 14 right-hander.
Kimi Raikkonen ended up seventh, lapping 1.245s slower than pacesetter Ricciardo.
Fernando Alonso was eighth for McLaren ahead of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, with Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat rounding out the top 10 after Stoffel Vandoorne failed to improve by enough with his late-session pace to get ahead of the Russian.
Felipe Massa was the best-placed of the Williams drivers in 14th, while Lance Stroll completed only 10 laps before pitting with a gearbox problem and ended up 17th.
Massa was ahead of the two Haas drivers, who were the only ones not to use ultra-soft Pirellis and concentrated on super-softs.
Romain Grosjean set his best time with five minutes remaining, although suffered three off-track moments during the session – taking to the run-off at Turn 1 early on before a spin at Turn 16 shortly after and then going off at Turn 18 late on.
He was just over three-tenths faster than Antonio Giovinazzi, the latter sitting in for race driver Kevin Magnussen during FP1.
Formula 2 driver Sean Gelael made his grand prix weekend debut in place of Carlos Sainz Jr at Toro Rosso for the first free practice session.
The 20-year-old Indonesian, who is currently 15th in the F2 standings, was 18th fastest with a 1m45.570s – complaining of a possible problem with the front left that caused "no grip" in the final 20 minutes.
He outpaced the two Saubers, with Marcus Ericsson – who suffered a spin in the Turn 18 left-hander early in the session – 0.187s ahead of team-mate Pascal Wehrlein.
|1||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m42.489s||–||21|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m42.610s||0.121s||23|
|5||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m43.423s||0.934s||25|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m44.220s||1.731s||25|
|13||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m45.053s||2.564s||25|
|18||Sean Gelael||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m47.570s||5.081s||26|
Lewis Hamilton beats Michael Schumacher’s F1 pole record at Monza
Lewis Hamilton claimed a record 69th Formula 1 pole position in a rain-affected Italian Grand Prix qualifying session, beating Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to top spot as Ferrari struggled.
Qualifying was delayed for more than two and a half hours, after a heavy crash for Romain Grosjean’s Haas on the pit straight caused the session to be halted and then suspended as heavy rain deluged the Monza F1 circuit.
The intensity of the rain varied throughout qualifying when it finally resumed, and a break in the rain in the closing minutes of Q3 allowed Verstappen and Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo to briefly lock out the front row before Hamilton’s late show – which helped him surpass Michael Schumacher’s record of 68 F1 poles that he equaled last time out in Belgium.
"It’s very hard to find the words to explain how I feel – I’m trying to figure it out right this second," said Hamilton.
"I wish I had something really iconic to say. I heard it has only switched hands a couple of times in 50 years, 60 years.
"I am very proud of what has been achieved and it is crazy. I have to keep going and keep extending it."
Though exciting, the battle was rendered meaningless by grid penalties for both Red Bulls for making illegal engine component changes ahead of Friday practice.
Verstappen is set to receive a 20-place penalty and Ricciardo a 25-place penalty, which will promote Williams rookie Lance Stroll to a sensational front row start for Sunday’s race.
Stroll lapped inside the top five in Q2 and was fourth fastest in Q3, only three tenths slower than Verstappen.
Force India’s Esteban Ocon was fifth fastest, while Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who set the pace in Q1, abandoned his final flying lap so wound up only sixth on the final timesheet.
That was one place better than the Ferrari drivers managed, with Kimi Raikkonen seventh and championship leader Sebastian Vettel eighth as they struggled for grip on the Pirelli wet tyres.
The second Williams of Felipe Massa and Stoffel Vandoorne’s McLaren-Honda rounded out the top 10.
Sergio Perez looked to have joined Force India team-mate Ocon in making Q3 after a late improvement in Q2, but his lap was 0.002s slower than Ocon’s and failed to get the job done after a last-gasp effort from Vandoorne.
Perez should start inside the top 10 anyway, owing to those grid penalties for the Red Bull drivers.
Nico Hulkenberg sat inside the top 10 after the initial Q2 runs, but his Renault struggled for grip on intermediates on his second run and slipped to 12th. He will drop further back thanks to a 10-place grid penalty for changing his MGU-H before final practice.
Fernando Alonso, who faces a 35-place grid penalty of his own, made only one run in Q2, but it was good enough to put his McLaren-Honda 13th, ahead of Toro Rosso pairing Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr, who also faces a 10-place grid penalty.
Kevin Magnussen’s Haas, Jolyon Palmer’s Renault and the two Saubers were eliminated in Q1, along with Grosjean.
Magnussen made a late improvement on intermediate tyres after the initial runs on full wets, but this was not enough for him to escape the drop zone.
The Haas driver finished up 0.701s adrift of Sainz’s Toro Rosso, while Palmer’s Renault was bumped to 17th.
Palmer is set to take a 15-place grid penalty for engine component swaps ahead of final practice, so will drop behind Marcus Ericsson, Pascal Wehrlein and Grosjean in the final reckoning.
Ericsson trailed Sauber team-mate Wehrlein by almost a second after the wet-tyre running, but beat him to the 18th quickest time by 0.143s with a late improvement on intermediates.
Grosjean didn’t take part in the restarted session after his earlier crash.
Italian GP grid
|3||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m37.719s||2.165s|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m37.582s||2.028s|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m38.245s||2.691s|
|14||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m36.702s||1.148s|
|16||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m38.526s||2.972s|
|17||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m36.841s||1.287s|
Felipe Massa fastest as Monza F1 Saturday practice is near-washout
Third and final Formula 1 practice for the Italian Grand Prix was a near-total washout, with Williams duo Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll fastest of those to set a time.
Showers overnight were followed by heavier rain on Saturday morning at Monza, leading to the cancellation of GP3 qualifying.
F1 race director Charlie Whiting then delayed the start of F1 practice "indefinitely" as the risk of aquaplaning was high.
The clock for the 60 minute session started on time, as there has to be a two-hour gap between the end of FP3 and the start of qualifying.
The safety car headed out several times to assess the track, and at just past the halfway point deemed the conditions had improved.
The session started with 16 minutes remaining, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo the first driver to head out to brave the puddles on a set of wet Pirelli tyres.
All 20 drivers eventually headed out to assess the track conditions, but only seven completed timed laps.
The conditions remained treacherous, with Toro Rosso duo Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat locking up on the run to the first corner and missing the first chicane.
Sainz completed the most running, with five laps, while Massa topped the times with a 1m40.660s to end the session just over two-tenths faster than Stroll.
Nico Hulkenberg, Sainz, Jolyon Palmer, Marcus Ericsson and Kvyat were the other drivers to complete timed laps.
The conditions meant teams were unable to carry out the usual qualifying simulations.
|4||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m41.515s||0.855s||5|
|7||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m45.033s||4.373s||4|
|8||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||–||–||1|
|9||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||–||–||1|
|16||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||–||–||2|
|19||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||–||–||1|
Italian Grand Prix: Bottas beats Hamilton in second Monza practice
Valtteri Bottas edged out Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the fastest time in second practice for the Italian Grand Prix.
Bottas clocked a 1m21.406s on the super-soft compound tyres, 0.056 seconds ahead of Hamilton, with Sebastian Vettel just a tenth further back in third.
The track was green early on as the morning rain had washed away the fresh rubber put down in opening practice.
Hamilton led the way after the opening third of the session with Mercedes focusing on running the soft tyres initially.
When attention turned to qualifying simulations, Vettel went fastest with a 1m21.546s, which was fractionally slower than Hamilton’s leading morning time.
Bottas then demoted Vettel and though Hamilton looked on course to usurp his team-mate, he lost time in the final sector and ended up second.
Kimi Raikkonen was fourth quickest, competing his quickest time on the second flying lap on the super-softs, as Ferrari provided more of a threat to Mercedes than it had earlier in the day.
Max Verstappen was the leading Red Bull in fifth, one second off the pace, with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo three tenths further back in sixth.
Both drivers face a tricky weekend as a raft of engine component changes means Ricciardo and Verstappen will receive grid penalties of 20 and 15-places respectively.
The McLarens of Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso, who is set to start from the back after a 35-place grid penalty for engine component changes, showed an impressive turn of speed in seventh and eighth respectively, 1.5s off the pace.
Esteban Ocon and Felipe Massa, who aborted his first low-fuel run when he put two wheels on the gravel on the exit of the second chicane, completed the top 10.
Carlos Sainz Jr, who has a 10-place grid penalty after his Toro Rosso team changed the MGU-H, was 11th quickest.
His session ended early when his Renault engine let go and he stopped after the second chicane.
His team-mate Daniil Kvyat, who was 18th quickest and set his best time on the softs, ended his session early when he was called back into the pits as his team found a problem with the car.
The Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg, who spent much of the latter part of the session in the garage, and Jolyon Palmer were evenly matched in 12th and 13th, with just under half a tenth separating them.
Lance Stroll recovered from a spin at the Ascari chicane to end the session 15th quickest, four tenths adrift of Williams team-mate Massa.
Haas duo Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were just over two seconds off the pace in 16th and 17th.
In the closing minutes of the session, Magnussen stopped at the Ascari chicane reporting "broken suspension", leading to the deployment of the virtual safety car.
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m22.409s||1.003s||34|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m22.752s||1.346s||22|
|9||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m22.977s||1.571s||43|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m23.150s||1.744s||21|
|14||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m23.352s||1.946s||43|
|18||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m24.253s||2.847s||28|
Italian GP FP1: Lewis Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 at Monza
Lewis Hamilton beat Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Valtteri Bottas to the fastest time in first practice for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Hamilton clocked a 1m21.537s on the super-soft Pirelli tyres to finish 0.435 seconds clear of Bottas, with Ferrari’s championship leader Sebastian Vettel 1.115s off the pace in third.
With the threat of rain looming, drivers headed out early in FP1 in order to maximise the dry but cool conditions.
Bottas led the way after the opening half an hour, the Finn clocking a 1m22.086s on the soft tyres.
Mercedes then switched to the super-softs, with Hamilton jumping to the top of the timesheets with a 1m21.868s.
The three-time world champion completed a flurry of laps on that compound, improving to a 1m21.729s and then a 1m21.537s before pitting.
Light rain eventually came with around 15 minutes of the session to go, with race control reporting the track was slippery in sector two, and everyone retreated back to the pits.
The Ferraris then headed out on super-softs, completing a practice starts at the end of the pitlane, before coasting around and returning to the pits.
The rain then eased, allowing another burst of laps in the final minutes of the session.
Kimi Raikkonen ended up fourth quickest, a fraction behind team-mate Vettel, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen a tenth further back in fifth and sixth respectively.
Ricciardo and Verstappen are set for a tough weekend after Red Bull chose to change Renault engine components ahead of the session, meaning they will take 20 and 15-place grid penalties respectively.
Sergio Perez pipped Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon to seventh while Stoffel Vandoorne was the highest placed McLaren in ninth with team-mate Fernando Alonso 15th.
Honda fitted an upgraded power unit, known as ‘spec 3.7’, to Alonso’s car for first practice, sparking a 35-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.
The Spaniard then ended the session early so Honda could switch back to an older spec unit – the one Alonso raced at Spa – for the remainder of the weekend.
Honda wanted to use the session to test performance, but save mileage on the engine for Singapore, as it feels a good result is possible at the next race.
Felipe Massa completed the top 10, two seconds off the pace, but nearly half a second quicker than Williams team-mate Lance Stroll.
With rain expected, Haas changed plans and stood down Ferrari junior Antonio Giovinazzi to allow Kevin Magnussen to get running in dry conditions.
It is expected Giovinazzi will get an opportunity to drive in FP1 in Singapore instead.
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m22.742s||1.205s||28|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m22.749s||1.212s||23|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m23.317s||1.780s||36|
|8||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m23.400s||1.863s||34|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m23.680s||2.143s||22|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m24.012s||2.475s||27|
Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen also feels that the potential of the SF70H hasn’t been fully exploited yet: “It was not an easy day: for whatever reason, it was difficult to drive and put the car where I wanted. I was looking for a better balance overall. For sure we have some work to do for tomorrow, but that’s a normal story on Friday. It’s difficult to say something about the performance; it’s only the first free practice, lap times don’t mean much and we don’t know what other people are doing. If we can get the car more to our liking, then we can improve and be faster”.
Belgian GP qualifying: Hamilton equals Schumacher’s F1 pole record
Lewis Hamilton beat Formula 1 title rival Sebastian Vettel to pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix, equalling Michael Schumacher’s record tally of 68 career poles with a sublime performance.
Hamilton impressively broke through the 1m43s barrier for the first time in Q2 at Spa, and repeated the feat on his first run in Q3, leading Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by more than three tenths of a second.
Hamilton found even more time on his second Q3 run, clinching pole with a stunning 1m42.553s effort.
Vettel’s Ferrari languished in fourth after the first runs in Q3, but the world championship leader pulled things together on his second run, taking a tow from team-mate Raikkonen in the final sector to beat Bottas to the front row.
Vettel’s 1m42.795s lap made him the only driver other than Hamilton to lap below 1m43s.
Bottas improved to a 1m43.094s best on his own final run, but struggled in the middle sector compared to Hamilton and ended up relegated to the second row.
Raikkonen held a provisional front row spot after the first runs in Q3, despite suffering unexplained vibrations from the rear of his Ferrari throughout qualifying, but "fucked it up" on his final Q3 run so aborted the lap and dropped to fourth.
Max Verstappen was best of the Red Bulls in fifth, almost half a second clear of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, while Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault comfortably beat the Force Indias of Sergio Perez – who complained of a loss of grip in Q3 – and Esteban Ocon to seventh.
The second Renault of Jolyon Palmer looked set to qualify best of the rest behind the top three teams after setting the seventh quickest time in Q2, but he broke down at the exit of Stavelot on his out-lap in Q3, after losing gearbox oil pressure, so wound up 10th.
Fernando Alonso missed out on the final Q3 spot by 0.084s, despite the efforts of team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne to give Alonso a tow along the Kemmel Straight on Alonso’s final flying lap.
Alonso then aborted the attempt, complaining of "no power" from his Honda engine at the exit of Pouhon over team radio.
Romain Grosjean found more than three tenths on his second Q2 run, but that was only good enough for 12th, ahead of Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen – who went slower on his second attempt – and the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr.
Grosjean felt he lost downforce behind Vandoorne’s pitting McLaren in the final sector, without which he felt he might have made the top 10.
Vandoorne was 15th, but didn’t set a time in Q2 and will drop to the back of the grid in any case thanks to a 65-place penalty for two illegal engine changes earlier in the weekend.
Williams’s disastrous Spa weekend continued with both cars dropping out in Q1. Felipe Massa fell less than a tenth short of making the cut after a late improvement, knocked out by a better one from Sainz’s Toro Rosso.
Massa ended up 16th quickest, but will drop back thanks to a five-place grid penalty for ignoring double waved yellow flags in final practice.
Daniil Kvyat was 17th in the second Toro Rosso, almost seven tenths adrift of Sainz, complaining he had "no reference" after breaking down with an engine problem in the morning session. Kvyat will take a 20-place grid penalty for requiring an engine, turbo and MGU-H change before qualifying.
Massa’s Williams team-mate Lance Stroll was 18th quickest, but didn’t venture out for a second run in Q1 due to a rear wing problem.
Marcus Ericsson won the private battle of the Saubers to avoid being slowest of all in qualifying, beating team-mate Pascal Wehrlein to the 19th quickest time by 0.465s. Both will take grid penalties for gearbox changes.
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m43.380s||0.827s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m43.863s||1.310s|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m45.244s||2.691s|
|9||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m45.369s||2.816s|
|14||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m45.439s||–|
|19||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m46.028s||–|
Belgian GP: Kimi Raikkonen leads Ferrari one-two in final practice
Kimi Raikkonen headed a narrow Ferrari one-two in the final free practice session for Formula 1’s Belgian Grand Prix.
Quickest in practice one and a close second to Lewis Hamilton on Friday afternoon, Raikkonen then set the fastest recorded lap on the current configuration of the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit on Saturday morning with a 1m43.916s.
Rain in the build-up to practice three meant initial laps were on intermediates tyres and no lap times were put on the board until a quarter of the way into the 60-minute session.
Soon after Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat kicked off the meaningful running with a lap on super-softs, Hamilton picked up where he left off on Friday, going top with a 1m45.480s effort on the same tyre.
But he was down to third at halfway point, leapfrogged by both Ferraris.
Raikkonen had first lapped a tenth off Hamilton and then cleared the Mercedes man with a 1m42.422s effort, while Vettel slotted into second, 0.036 seconds off, as the frontrunners’ super-soft runs concluded.
Red Bull was first among the big teams to send its drivers out on ultra-softs, but Daniel Ricciardo’s first flying lap on the compound was derailed by yellow flags – brought out by junior team driver Kvyat, who parked his Toro Rosso to the side of the Kemmel straight after reporting a loss of power.
When the car was cleared away – a small fire developing in the process – Ricciardo took the top spot with a 1m45.286s lap, before team-mate Max Verstappen improved the benchmark to a 1m45.034s.
But Red Bull’s time at the top was shortlived, as Raikkonen clocked in the current Spa layout’s first sub-1m44s lap with his first flyer.
Hamilton moved up to second, two tenths off, only for Vettel to reinstate a Ferrari one-two with a lap 0.001s better than the Mercedes.
There would be no further improvements among the top three, but their margin of almost a second over their nearest rivals remained until the chequered flag.
Verstappen and Ricciardo made no gains either, finishing fourth and sixth, split by the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, who distinctly trailed Hamilton on both super-soft and ultra-soft pace having made errors on his first flying laps.
Jolyon Palmer was a standout performer in seventh, just two tenths off Ricciardo and more than half a second clear of 11th-placed Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.
Force India’s Sergio Perez was eighth, with Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso making up the top 10.
Williams driver Felipe Massa, returning to action after the crash that meant he barely did any laps on Friday, was one spot behind 15th-placed team-mate Lance Stroll – and is under investigation for ignoring double-waved yellow flags.
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m45.034s||1.118s||13|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m45.286s||1.370s||18|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m45.857s||1.941s||14|
|9||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m45.942s||2.026s||18|
|12||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m46.179s||2.263s||14|
|18||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m47.903s||3.987s||7|