Ferrari’s to lose? Raikkonen sets the pace at Belgian F1 GP practice
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: Editor   |  24 Aug 2018   |  4:38 pm GMT  |  71 comments

Belgian Grand Prix expert Kimi Raikkonen topped the second free practice of a Grand Prix weekend for the first time since Canada as this weekend’s favourites Ferrari fired warning shots to their rivals with their short and long-run times.

In what looks like a straight fight between Ferrari and Mercedes this weekend, Raikkonen – who last won for Ferrari at the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix – set a time of 1:43.355 in the qualifying simulations to take FP2 honours by just less than two tenths of a second from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, on the longest circuit of the season.

On the sectors most reliant on a strong power unit – sectors one and three – Raikkonen set the faster times, whilst Hamilton edged ahead in the tighter sector two.

Valtteri Bottas was half-a-second off the pace, but Mercedes may opt to give him a setup focused more towards the race. Following the introduction of new power units for all Mercedes-powered teams, the Finn’s car has been equipped with a new internal combustion engine, turbocharger, MGU-H, MGU-K, control electronics and energy store, giving him an automatic back-of-the-grid penalty.

The Red Bull of Max Verstappen was a couple of tenths further back in fourth, although curiously the Red Bull drivers set the fastest times in the third sector.

An error from team-mate Sebastian Vettel – who topped FP1 earlier in the day – meant the championship contender settled for fifth in the afternoon session.

As anticipated, the supersoft tyres appear to only be good for one lap in qualifying, as proved by Vettel who, after making a mistake at turn fourteen on his first flying lap, was several tenths slower than Raikkonen on his second timed lap, finishing the day just ahead of Ricciardo’s Red Bull.

Ricciardo’s first free practice session was almost a complete write-off. An engine problem kept him in the garage for the vast majority of the session, as he managed only one flying lap in the dying moments of FP1.

The reduced durability of the fastest available tyre may encourage the top three teams to try and qualify on the harder compounds, should the threat of rain not materialise.

Some drivers were reluctant to spend many laps on the supersoft tyre, opting instead to get a feel for the soft and medium-compound tyres on higher fuel loads.

In this scenario, Ferrari’s Vettel looked impressive on the mediums; he managed to set average times better than Hamilton’s Mercedes (which also ran with medium tyres for a while) and similar lap times to Bottas’ Mercedes (which predominantly ran the soft tyre).

The recently-renamed Racing Point Force India belonging to Sergio Perez finished an impressive seventh, several tenths ahead of any other midfield rivals.

Renault’s Carlos Sainz was eighth fastest, whilst an impressive showing from Sauber put Marcus Ericsson in ninth and Charles Leclerc in tenth.

Eleventh-placed Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) suffered the same power unit-related fate as Bottas and will start on the back row of the grid.

Formula Two driver Lando Norris occupied Alonso’s car for the opening free practice session, but any direct comparisons against under-fire Stoffel Vandoorne would’ve been taken with a pinch of salt due to the Belgian being unable to participate for much of the session due to braking issues.

Force India renamed, but stripped of 2018 WCC points

The Silverstone-based team confirmed ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix that they had been bought out by ‘Racing Point UK Limited’ and, for at least the rest of the season, they will compete as the Racing Point Force India F1 Team.

In the weeks running up to this weekend’s event, the FIA have been assessing the legal situation regarding the team’s takeover and finally approved the new entry on Thursday.

Due to the legal issues surrounding the previous owners, Racing Point were unable to complete the process as a share sale. Instead, the assets were sold, meaning Racing Point had all the equipment to go racing, but not the official entry.

Therefore, the new owners had to complete a late entry application, which involves a fee. The old Force India team have been excluded from the championship, and have been officially replaced by the new team, Racing Point Force India F1 Team.

As the team is a new entrant, they must start from zero points. Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon keep their points, as they are permitted to score points with more than one team.

Same livery, but the team names were removed from the Racing Point Force India trucks.

Whilst Racing Point Force India is a new entry, they haven’t been able to remove the ‘Force India’ part of the team name, due to regulations.

Firstly, the name of the chassis is not allowed to change during a season. In this instance, their chassis is called the Force India VJM11.

Secondly, the team name must contain the name of the chassis, meaning the ‘Force India’ part of the name is fixed until the end of the season. They will be able to change their team name again for 2019.

From a financial point of view, the team have been given permission by the remaining teams to keep the prize money accrued by Force India in recent years.

Championship-wise, they give up sixth place in the constructors’ standings. They were competing for fourth but, considering the pace of Renault and Haas, the team would’ve faced a tough task in finishing higher than sixth anyway.

Given that there are nine races of the season remaining, the team still have the chance to make up places, with McLaren now occupying sixth place (52 points) and Toro Rosso in seventh (28 points).

1 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m43.355s – 29 Laps
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m43.523s 0.168s 28
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m43.803s 0.448s 29
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m44.046s 0.691s 25
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m44.129s 0.774s 31
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m44.250s 0.895s 31
7 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m44.662s 1.307s 27
8 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m45.481s 2.126s 29
9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m45.537s 2.182s 24
10 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m45.622s 2.267s 25
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m45.753s 2.398s 28
12 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m45.817s 2.462s 29
13 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m45.935s 2.580s 24
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m46.083s 2.723s 29
15 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m46.175s 2.725s 33
16 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1m46.153s 2.798s 28
17 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1m46.337s 2.982s 35
18 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m46.451s 3.096s 35
19 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m46.718s 3.115s 34
20 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m46.496s 3.141s 25

By: Luke Murphy

All images: Motorsport Images

Who do you think is the favourite for the Belgian Grand Prix? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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@ Oblah

Hahaha no, the stewards had a change of heart after the event


I don’t know about this being Ferrari’s race to lose but seeing as it is usual to see Ferrari gain more overall time wise than the other teams, l am quietly confident that they are in with a good shot at it. Spa and Monza will be important and if they don’t managed to gain points on Mercedes l would be dissapointed. Marc



But somebody… moderating, didn’t think it fit to post.

There is a pervasive anti-Kimi control of the media,

On this site, for a long time, this article, in the body of the article, showed Kimi’s time at: 1:43.555.

They had the correct 1:43.355 at the bottom listing, but not in the body of the article.

There is a pattern to it.

These seemingly little, if taken only by themselves, minor inaccuracies, but in the context of the pervasiveness of it, thousands of knicks.

It makes one wonder just what he did to offend who…

…could do this?

What I would like somebody with knowledge to share, is what happened to the seemingly inevitable engine change for Kimi from a second generation 1 (2018) PU to the latest spec (gen 3) which is now available, which would result in a engine penalty, “Go to jail” (back of the grid)?


Is he using that second gen 1 unit, this will be the eighth race?

Please no adolescent conspiracy-theory trolling, if this comment ever gets posted…

… you know who you are, just suck on a lime (after a decent tequila, okay?)

Let’s see how it looks after the likely damp quali.


He got the spec 3 ICE. He’s maxed on the turbo’s, and didn’t take a 3rd MGU-H even though he could penalty free, mainly I believe because the turbo and it usually go together.

So Vettel and Lewis are both maxed out now, Bottas is one over on everything, and Kimi can take an MGU-H before max out. Got all that? 😉


thank you


They do it to further market Daniel Ricciardo 🙂


Kimi. Kimi is always favorite at Spa.

I hope Max does something stupid & takes Vettel out of podium contention, so that Ferrari have no excuse for not letting Kimi win.

A RAI RIC HAM podium would be awesome.

Sainz had better not be beaten by the rear of grid Hulk, or else it will signal his demise.

Will we see a Honda go bang on the Kemmel straight, or have they really progressed under Red Bull’s gentle guiding hand?

I’m surprised to see both Sauber Romeo’s in front of Haas. I think that will change after quali, whether it is wet or dry.

A big thank you to Perez & Lawrence Stroll, because now Williams aren’t last in the standings. Good to see Sirotkin in front of Stroll, but I doubt it will stay that way.

These, and many other questions will be answered Sunday afternoon, but dear Liberty Media, I will only get partial answers Monday night.

The Media part of your name suggests you are in the business of conveying information in a truthful, fair & timely manner, but sadly you fail dismally.

After your pit stop, unplug your radio & go for it Kimi.


Is this Ferraris to loose already? I thought Merc still had the upper hand…in this kind of circumstances. Yes they need to start winning, Kimi is fastest it’s friday, and Kimi is fastest. What else is going on?


Pedantic alert! It’s lose, not loose. I know auto-correct scuppers many posts (mine always throws in ‘had’ for ‘has’ for some odd reason).

A hole in pocket can cause you to lose your loose change.


Just noticed that Lando was quicker than Vandoorne in fp1. See ya Stoff…..


Is Ocon going to McLaren or Williams?


You`re reading too much from this. Stoff wasnt really enjoying his fp1 from inside the garage..


Nicolas, I don’t doubt ge wasn’t enjoying it, and ok he only got half the number of laps that Lando got, but still he should have been quicker.


ricciardo has preserved some of his mettel by opting to join renault than stay at red bull and watch his stocks devalue.

we’ll soon find out if he has taken a bigger risk than red bull or not by seeing where he finishes relative to verstappen in 2019.

ricciardo should be proud of his decision.


looks like we will no rain after all.

a dry qualifying session.

perfect conditions for ultimate performance.


I for one am happy to see Hass standing up regarding the Force India story. This is really a strange one…



How about PU allocations for Force India? They can use 3 brand new PUs? Or the ones used so far are counted towards new team?


FIA have just clarrified that the engine allocation takes over from the old Force India. This was agreed as part of the deal.


They lose the points but keep the engines — i.e., the ones used so far are counted towards the new team.


Absolutely no idea. In theory they get four new units in practice we have no inside info of the backroom deal that was cut to let them join mid season. The FIA site still shows the old allocations against the two drivers. Looking for the updated one next week. In the mean time a quick cut and paste of the reg

Unless he drives for more than one team, each driver may use no more than three power units during a championship season. The only exception is where the power unit is provided by a manufacturer or supplier taking part in its first championship season, in which case up to four may be used by a driver.


As far as I am aware Krako the ones used so far are included.


They pick up where FI was in Hungary.

But it seems to be a taboo subject here for some reason


The engines are allocatdd to the individual cars, so as the same chassis are being used the allocation continues.


Otmar isn’t too happy with the “new” team keeping its old allocation. But with all things considered, namely manufacturing and lead times – it simply wouldn’t be feasible. They were allowed to keep their prize money however, which isn’t so bad.


Yes, Ferrari’s to lose, specially if it rains — the Italians seem to have pluviophobia.


Also redbull, both are really kind with the tires so have trouble heating the tires on wet..


Rain is predicted during qualifying. And we know that red machines aren’t the bests in went. So, wet qualifying/dry racing will certainly mix things up.


I’m not so sure, we have yet to see what both unchained PUs are capable of. Eitherway, it’s going to be close. If it rains, high probability of LH pole, if not – flip a coin.


24 psi front, 22 psi rear. Geezus! Formula Zorbing.

Tornillo Amarillo

Alonso/McLaren in P16 is painful.

I feel a little sad for Sainz getting a McLaren seat for 2019, but possibly he made his own luck.


Well you could say Fernando is a pay driver and has been för a while. Otherwise he whould have ended this humiliating thing, what ever you’d like to call it…


Fernando is a payed driver and has been for a while.

Tornillo Amarillo

Whilst Racing Point Force India is a new entry,…”

James, what about the drivers, could be a switch between Lance and Ocon not now but for the next race in Monza?


That depends on how deep papa Strolls’ pocket is. Claire will let him go, but not cheaply. It’s probably best for all parties involved for Lance to finish the year at williams. It’ll give “no points racing” adequate transitional time and less hassle.

With Bob Fenley gone, too many unknowns will make the transitional phase more difficult than necessary.


Ithink Williams used to have maldoardo’s cheque before the season started so I imagine the Strolls dosh for the season is safely banked.


The two things I would really like Kimi to do before the end of the season are, win a race and announce his retirement.


There you go TimW, we don’t disagree with everything!!!


Why should Kimi retire? He is doing just fine.


Sami. Is ‘just fine’ enough in F1? His team mate has won four races and Kimi has won none, even with Seb’s errors he is 43 points behind. If Kimi hadn’t been the driver he was, then it wouldn’t matter that he was happy to cruise and collect as Seb’s wingman, but for a former wdc and ferociously quick guy to keep going passed his 40th birthday is undignified in my view. I would love to see Leclerc in the other car, but it seems as though that won’t be happening.


He will be in a Ferrari in 2019 TimW.

Vettel wants a subservient side kick.

The young Kimi wouldn’t


an old Kimi will tow the line.

I can see him in F1 as long as Vettel is in a Ferrari.


raikkonen said “just tell me what you want me to do”.


We have a similar situation at Mercedes — to the detriment of the show it has it be said.

What we need is Alonso at Mercedes and Verstappen at Ferrari. That would certainly liven things up.


Ferrari may want Kimi but what Kimi. I think Kimi might initially sign a contract but he will only keep honouring these extensions until Vettel wins. If Seb wins a WDC Kimi will drop Ferrari in it after Abu Dhabi a bit like Rosberg and they’ll be forced to scramble a Leclerc deal together and run around like headless chickens . If Kimi wants to retire Ferrari the bosses at Ferrari and Vettel can do nowt about it. He is not a slave labourer. You have to remember Kimi will be 40 at the end of next year . Ferrari have apparently given an indiction they want Kimi for 2 years but does someone who is nearly 40 want to commit for more than one year?


Just give it a break. When was when Bottas was ordered last time to cool down? Yea, subservient…


One of those might happen but definitely not both.


It looks close, but Ferrari seem to have the edge.

Who do we believe – Alonso or Red Bull? Who do you trust less?

I feel bad for RPFI, it seems a bit much they have to lose their points mid season, but it’s a dog eat dog world out there I guess.


i believe alonso…he’s just not being asked the right questions.


Like “can you show me that email?”


It will be an email from Flav!


i can’t believe the journalist couldn’t ask alonso who told him what.


I just checked and the domain is available


Ferrari’s to Lose?

No. . . . . It is only a practice.

Next – How Raikkonen got screwed by his team.


Always going to be Vettel even if Kimi is leading at the pit stops they’ll create an opening for him to pass Kimi.

It’s not Ferrari to loose Mercedes are close they are also not showing their hands. Lewis has new engine even though Both as will start from back he’ll get to 6th in 10 laps or first pit stops he will do a longer stint.

Plus Safety Cars and VSC will play a big Parr. As will the rain in Qualifying.

Seems Alonso also wants an apology from Red Bulls Horner for casting aspersions on his character. Seems a duel is necessary 🤺🤺 Spanish Samurai vs Ginger Horn .

My monies on Spanish Samurai.


Dude, Fernando is full of ish. It’s well documented he’d be offered a contract in 2007, for 2 years – which he turned down. Why? Because he wanted only 1. Didn’t think RBR would become a force. Only to go grovelling mid 2009, when the car started to show massive pace.

Fernando can’t seem to develop a car let alone a team. He’s had the might of Mclaren, Ferrari and Renault and has squandered them all, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. Is it any wonder, no one will touch him with a 10 foot pole?

Then the triple crown, and now apology/contract gate! What’s next? Retire already!! Leave us with fond memories of your talent, not your manipulative attitude.


I have been skeptical a out merc winning any of their traditionally strong tracks with ferrari being as strong as they are so no surprise kimi and bottle was proving that in both sessions. Ham has his work cut out for him being the Lome merc out front (top 3) but I see vettel doing what vettel does and putting it on pole in the last lap of Q3.


You said this about Germany then Hungary Kurik.

Are you not getting tired by chasing the same red balloon🎈 on each circuit 🎈

Are you perhaps suffering from Ground Hog Day Syndrome. 🕐🌞🕜🌙🕑🌞🕝🌙🕒🌞⌛⏳

It’s going to be a wet Qualifying that’ll put the Kaibosh up Vettels Sporan😂


no it won’t be a wet qualifying. may be a damp track to start with.


It was wet Avelo


It’s broken clock syndrome, keep saying the same thing and you’re bound to right eventually; although in this case he probably is unless that news merc engine makes a significant leap.


Is it though? One site I saw is saying no rain for qualifying, while another is saying 2-3 mm’s for the quali hour, plus 22 kph winds with 33 kph gusts.

But that’s the thing. Without external weather considerations, we know who has the quickest car and who is likely to be on pole.


That’s what Lewis does…


I blame mobile autocorrect and tiny screens. Corrected: I have been skeptical of merc winning any of their traditionally strong tracks with ferrari being as strong as they are so no surprise kimi and vettel taking top spot in both sessions. Ham has his work cut out for him being the lone merc out front (top 3) but I see vettel doing what vettel does and putting it on pole in the last lap of Q3.


but I see vettel doing what vettel does and putting it on pole in the last lap of Q3.

Oops 😬


Auto correct that one Kurik 😂😉

If it’s wet I see Vettel taking a scenic route into the gravel and parking it.


“Cough” in capitals


Does anyone know what Pouhon, Blachimont and Kemmel mean/signify? I know Malmedy and Stavelot are nearby towns in the Ardennes, and La Source presumably means the beginning of the Red River that flows downhill, but those aforementioned names are a mystery…………..

Curious how the top chicane is named “Les Combes” – Combe being a Celtic word meaning valley – as in Castle Combe, the only permanent racing circuit in the West Country. Having said that, the Ardennes is part of the same upland (pleateau) landmass which includes the Eifel Mountains, West Country, Wales, West of Ireland running down to Spain and Portugal’s Atlantic coast – it’s why both Spa and the Nuburgring look like the Forest of Dean and Radnor Forest (wouldn’t be out of place to see a Lancia 037 or Audi Quattro in the background…………..)


Spa has some great names for corners.

Combe is also valley in ‘French’, so probably that is how that corner got it’s name.

In other interesting trivia, the “Speaker’s corner” is going to be renamed the “Jacky Ickx corner” this year.

Before the era of the of television feeds, this was the only corner in the forest where the cars were visible from the Speaker’s cabin. Makes for interesting commentary in the old races.


Great questions Gaz.

Blanchimont, I was always under the impression it was something to do with a white building that stood on the side of the circuit near the corner (similar to the old Maison Blanche high speed S at La Sarthe, or “Kate’s Cottage” on the TT Circuit).

Piff Paff literally translates to Flip Flop, which is just a cute name for the S bend (some people call it Fagnya or something like that).

Rivage / Brusselle, no idea why it’s called that, or why it changes names.

The following corner, the downhill left, Ive heard called one of two things:

• Speaker’s Corner – so called because from the old commentary position above the endurance pits, this corner is the only part of the circuit visible from the booth, other than the start finish and eau rouge.

• No Name Corner – this one’s confusing. Some people think the corner has no name, so they call it “the corner with no name”. However, I’ve heard other people say it is actually named “No Name Corner”, that’s literally the name. The reason for this is that it’s supposed to be left with no name, hopefully forever, as a tribute to all those in motorsport who made the ultimate sacrifice, but perhaps weren’t famous or popular enough to have a chicane named after them. How true or valid this interpretation of the “No Name Corner” actually is, I have no idea, but I have heard/seen it mentioned on more than one occasion through my years of watching racing.

Curve Paul Frere is named after the Belgian automotive journalist who was also a part time racer, and supposedly a half decent one to boot.

Pouhon, I really don’t know, but would love to know more as to why that corner ended up with that name.


Excellent informative post GazBoy 👍


Mighty running by Ferrari having topped both sessions thereby showing the team have a good package for the weekend, however, everybody at the factory will have their fingers crossed it rains during qualy due to the fact since cars have been racing at Spa in 1925, Senna and Lewis are the only pilots to have won more than one race from pole i.e. 4 wins from pole for Senna and 2 for Lewis

Mercedes are looking competitive as well having finished P2 and P3, however, with Bottas’ grid penalty this means Lewis won’t have a wingman to help him split the strategies

Red Bull are always there abouts and with their different wing settings will be looking to cause an upset by clinching a podium

Good job by Racing Point as the best of the rest which isn’t surprising seeing as the team achieved a remarkable pole in 2009

Renault put in some decent laps too and are so far looking stronger than their competitor Haas

Last but not least, great day’s work by Sauber with both cars in the top 10 however, the team will be hoping Ericsson can make it count when it matters.


Lewis won from pole in 2008…

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