Scroll downfor the latest news

Max fourth in Spa opening practice: "It went all right"

Published on 25 August 2017 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen, who is sporting a special orange helmet for the Belgian Grand Prix, started his weekend with a fourth place in FP1. The Dutchman lapped the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in a 1:46.302. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) was quickest with a 1:45.2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Raikkonen’s team mate, and championship leader, Sebastian Vettel completed the top three.

“The first practice session went well”, said Max after his first outing of the weekend. “Of course we know it won’t be easy for us here with the long straights. Because we are relatively slow on them, we’ll have to figure out how much wing we’ll run.”

The gap between Red Bull Racing and the two front running teams of Ferrari and Mercedes fis airly big, but that does not surprise Max. “It’s what I expected. That’s the way it is. We’re currently the third team and the gap to teams behind us is big as well.”

At the start of the first free practice session, a couple of drivers are trying a Halo device on their cars, Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren) and Marcus Ericsson (Sauber) respectively. Meanwhile, Max heads out on the ultra-soft Pirelli compound, the softest tyre the Italian manufacturer has made available for the event.

Just fifteen minutes in, training is red flagged. Felipe Massa has lost control of his Williams in turn seven, catapulting him into the tyre wall sideways. He is able to get out of his car unharmed, but his car is heavily damaged. It marks the end of the Brazilian’s sessions after just three laps.

After the wreckage and the track are cleared, Valtteri Bottas is the next driver to have an excursion into the Ardnenne gravel. Fortunately for the Finn, he is able to nurse his Mercedes back to the pits, preventing another red flag.

At the halfway mark, Max bolts on another set of the ultra-softs. He is able to improve on his lap time, ultimately setting his personal best for the session (1:46.3). His team mate Daniel Ricciardo proves the two Red Bull Racing drivers are well matched with the Australian finishing the session in fifth, a fraction behind his younger team mate.

Belgian Grand Prix - Spa-Francorchamps - Friday 25 August


01  7 Kimi Räikkönen      Ferrari                     1:45.502          13
02 44 Lewis Hamilton      Mercedes                    1:45.555 +0.053s  19
03  5 Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari                     1:45.647 +0.145s  13
04 33 Max Verstappen      Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer   1:46.302 +0.800s  18
05  3 Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer   1:46.352 +0.850s  22
06 77 Valtteri Bottas     Mercedes                    1:46.424 +0.922s  20
07 55 Carlos Sainz        Toro Rosso                  1:47.446 +1.944s  22
08 31 Esteban Ocon        Force India Mercedes        1:47.670 +2.168s  27
09 26 Daniil Kvyat        Toro Rosso                  1:47.851 +2.349s  20
10  2 Stoffel Vandoorne   McLaren Honda               1:47.865 +2.363s  18
11 30 Jolyon Palmer       Renault                     1:47.930 +2.428s  14
12 27 Nico Hulkenberg     Renault                     1:48.037 +2.535s  15
13 14 Fernando Alonso     McLaren Honda               1:48.252 +2.750s  18
14 11 Sergio Perez        Force India Mercedes        1:48.452 +2.950s  19
15 18 Lance Stroll        Williams Mercedes           1:48.541 +3.039s  24
16 20 Kevin Magnussen     Haas Ferrari                1:48.615 +3.113s  20
17  8 Romain Grosjean     Haas Ferrari                1:48.626 +3.124s  20
18  9 Marcus Ericsson     Sauber Ferrari              1:50.160 +4.658s  21
19 94 Pascal Wehrlein     Sauber Ferrari              1:51.263 +5.761s  13
20 19 Felipe Massa        Williams Mercedes                              3

Belgian GP contest: win 1:8 Max Verstappen helmet scale models