Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2018

Ferrari complete practice sweep as Vandoorne crash stops session

2018 Belgian Grand Prix third practice

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Sebastian Vettel led a one-two for Ferrari in the final practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix, though Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes was just a tenth of a second behind.

Kimi Raikkonen set the quickest time when the Ferrari and Mercedes drivers took to the track to complete their qualifying simulations at the same time. However the Ferrari pair were able to make their super-soft tyres last for a second run and Vettel took the top time off his team mate by 0.068 seconds.

Hamilton, who headed for the pits after his first run, took third place ahead of his team mate. But Valtteri Bottas was involved in an incident which brought out the red flags late in the session.

McLaren had been running their cars line astern on the Kemmel straight to practice giving the second car the benefit of the slipstream for qualifying. However Bottas found himself between the two cars after letting Fernando Alonso through before Eau Rouge.

Stoffel Vandoorne followed the Mercedes out of Raidillon then pulled out to pass Bottas, and was squeezed onto the grass as Bottas kept his line. The McLaren was sent into a high-speed spin, but fortunately came to a stop without any major damage.

“What the hell was that Mercedes doing?” asked Vandoorne on the radio. Bottas told his team he hadn’t been aware of the second McLaren closing on him. The incident ensured Vandoorne finished at the bottom of the times for the third session in a row.

The session resumed with only a few minutes left to run. Pierre Gasly was among those who queued up at the pits ready to restart, but spun his Toro Rosso at the pit exit as he rejoined the track.

The Red Bull drivers had not improved on their Friday lap times up to that point and were among those who headed out for final runs. They ended up fifth and sixth.

Charles Leclerc put his Sauber eighth ahead Sergio Perez. Nico Hulkenberg was ninth and Esteban Ocon joined his team mate in the top 10.

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Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
15Sebastian VettelFerrari1’42.66113
27Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’42.7240.06315
344Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’42.7980.13710
477Valtteri BottasMercedes1’43.4640.80313
533Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’44.0481.38710
63Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’44.4791.81813
716Charles LeclercSauber-Ferrari1’44.9632.30212
811Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’45.3412.68010
927Nico HulkenbergRenault1’45.4642.80317
1031Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’45.4852.82413
119Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’45.5362.87511
128Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’45.8143.15312
1355Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’45.9253.26413
1420Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’46.0873.42612
1510Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’46.1823.52116
1628Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Honda1’46.2593.59817
1718Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’46.5023.84110
1835Sergey SirotkinWilliams-Mercedes1’46.6303.96911
1914Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Renault1’46.9424.28116
202Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Renault1’47.0614.40014

Third practice visual gaps

Sebastian Vettel – 1’42.661

+0.063 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’42.724

+0.137 Lewis Hamilton – 1’42.798

+0.803 Valtteri Bottas – 1’43.464

+1.387 Max Verstappen – 1’44.048

+1.818 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’44.479

+2.302 Charles Leclerc – 1’44.963

+2.680 Sergio Perez – 1’45.341

+2.803 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’45.464

+2.824 Esteban Ocon – 1’45.485

+2.875 Marcus Ericsson – 1’45.536

+3.153 Romain Grosjean – 1’45.814

+3.264 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’45.925

+3.426 Kevin Magnussen – 1’46.087

+3.521 Pierre Gasly – 1’46.182

+3.598 Brendon Hartley – 1’46.259

+3.841 Lance Stroll – 1’46.502

+3.969 Sergey Sirotkin – 1’46.630

+4.281 Fernando Alonso – 1’46.942

+4.400 Stoffel Vandoorne – 1’47.061

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

Combined practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Fri/Sat diffTotal laps
1Sebastian VettelFerrari1’44.3581’44.1291’42.661-1.46863
2Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’44.7181’43.3551’42.724-0.63161
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’44.6761’43.5231’42.798-0.72560
4Valtteri BottasMercedes1’44.7241’43.8031’43.464-0.33967
5Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’44.5091’44.0461’44.048+0.00255
6Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’45.5581’44.2501’44.479+0.22948
7Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’46.1691’44.6621’45.341+0.67958
8Charles LeclercSauber-Ferrari1’46.5541’45.6221’44.963-0.65957
9Nico HulkenbergRenault1’45.9511’45.7531’45.464-0.28964
10Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’46.2101’45.4811’45.925+0.44461
11Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’45.7861’45.9351’45.485-0.30159
12Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’46.5571’45.5371’45.536-0.00154
13Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’46.3871’45.8171’45.814-0.00361
14Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’47.0121’46.0781’46.087+0.00962
15Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’46.3001’46.0801’46.182+0.10274
16Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Renault1’46.1531’46.942+0.78944
17Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Honda1’46.9321’46.3371’46.259-0.07875
18Sergey SirotkinWilliams-Mercedes1’47.3671’46.4511’46.630+0.17969
19Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’46.9651’46.4701’46.502+0.03269
20Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Renault1’47.4521’46.4961’47.061+0.56552
21Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’47.36426

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2018 Belgian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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19 comments on “Ferrari complete practice sweep as Vandoorne crash stops session”

  1. Bottas should’ve stayed off the racing line. An avoidable incident caused by him pulling out an unnecessarily risky move. The second race weekend in a row in which he’s done something questionable on the track, which isn’t like him.

    1. @jerejj As with Vettel in Austria, and going off what Bottas said on the radio, the likely explanation here is he wasn’t warned by his team. That is unlikely to mean he’ll escape a penalty, however.

      The interesting question for me is whether the stewards will take into consideration the likelihood that a grid penalty will be meaningless given Bottas already has to start from the back of the grid due to his engine change penalty. Perhaps they’ll impose a pit lane start instead.

      1. @keithcollantine
        Could the stewards issue a time penalty for the race?

        1. Not sure they can issue a time penalty being that is was in practice?? Grid penalty for sure but Valtteri is at the back already.
          Bottas didn’t know he was coming, as Keith said its was the teams fault.

          Not Stoff’s fault at all but he cant catch a break!

          1. @garns do they have side mirrors on their cars ?

          2. @abdelilah – good question ☺️

            Although some might say they are first and foremost aerodynamic devices and not driver aids. 😉

      2. @keithcollantine Not being warned about a fast-approaching driver on a flying lap behind, i.e., not being aware whether there’s someone on a flyer behind or not should be even more of a reason to stay off the racing line as much as possible when on a cooldown lap, though, despite that side of a track being dirtier than the racing line.

        1. @abdelilah
          Understeer- I believe they do, is this a rhetorical question? (To quote Homer Simpson “Do I know what rhetorical means?”

          What’s your take on it?

          1. @garns yes, I know they do have mirrors but when you hear the drivers one might think they are just cosmetical gadgets.

          2. @abdelilah
            Just saw it again, actually worse than it first looked – could have been a big off!!

  2. Red bull more than 1 second off without the party modes being switched on.
    This is going to be a painful Q3.

    1. Well we have 3 qualifyings really…. one for places 1-4, one for places 5-6, one for the rest…

  3. It’s hard to see anything other than a Ferrari front row lockout for this one. Lewis must be praying for some rain again this weekend.

    I kind of expected Red Bull to be a second behind the pole sitter .. despite their promising showing in Q1.

    Didn’t expect Sauber to be so competitive this weekend and Haas to be that behind. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sauber outperform Haas for the remainder of the season. Sauber have built their own car and have a clear development path, while Haas sit around cluelessly, waiting for Ferrari and Dallara to give them updates.

    Mclaren … wow… I’m at a loss for words. They’re actually slower at Spa in 2018 then they ever have been even during the Honda era. I never remember them being more than 4 seconds off the pole sitter’s pace. To have both the Honda-powered Toro Rosso’s comfortably ahead of them must be a bitter blow. I have a feeling that Spa and Monza will probably be Mclaren’s poorest races of the season… and I expect them to finish behind the Williams at both venues.

    1. Bottas could well give Hamilton a tow up the Kemmel straight, and the Mercedes looked very good in sector 2, so I wouldn’t count him out yet.

      1. If it works for Mercedes, I’d expect Kimi to tow Vettel as well. They seem too quick this weekend… and the real ace up their sleeve is their new engine spec performance in Q3. The only way Lewis could get on the front row is if Kimi botches his quali… or.. if the weather gods interfere.

        1. if Kimi botches his quali

          what are the chances of that happening? :P

          1. It already happened more than once this year.

      2. @hugh11

        Guess the weather gods had to interfere ;)

    2. McLaren should be fine; they’re within 7%, @todfod :P

      more serious, and slightly less alarming: McLaren primarily used the Mediums and no SuperSofts as all.
      It also seems that a few teams are setting up their car for straight-line speed (racing) rather than lap time (quali)

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