STAVELOT, Belgium – Max Verstappen put Red Bull on top of the practice charts Friday as Formula One kicked off Belgian Grand Prix weekend at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
The Red Bull ace topped the practice charts with a 1:43.744 lap at the Belgian circuit during the second of two practice sessions Friday.
“The car seems to be handling well, it is of course early days but from our side it was a positive Friday and overall I’m pretty happy,” Verstappen said. “A racing car is never perfect and you always try to find things on the car and with the tyre prep that you can improve, so we will be looking at that tonight. Personally, I think Mercedes are still struggling a bit with the balance and I expect them to be stronger tomorrow. You can see already that they are very competitive on the long runs and I don’t think I will be fighting them for pole because we can’t really follow when they turn it up in qualifying.
“If we can at least be a bit closer that would be good ahead of the race,” Verstappen continued. “It was important to get some decent dry running today, even if the conditions change over the weekend, so we can find a good baseline. It’s never easy around Spa to find the perfect downforce level and you can see everyone trying different things, but I think we are in a reasonable place and we will find out tomorrow exactly where that puts us.”
Renault put together an impressive Friday, with Daniel Ricciardo going second fastest overall for the black and yellow team. His day wasn’t perfect however as he was forced to park his car during the second session due to a hydraulic pressure issue.
Ricciardo was followed by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, Red Bull’s Alexander Albon and Racing Point’s Sergio Perez.
Valtteri Bottas, who was fastest in the opening practice for Mercedes, was sixth fastest overall.