Spa’s typically damp microclimate made its presence felt in the opening practice session for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, and it was Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso Fernando Alonso went quickest in the opening practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix who survived the slippery conditions best of all by topping the timesheets at the end of the day’s opening 90-minute run at Spa-Francorchamps.

The double World Champion was the early pace-setter midway through the practice session, and shortly after posting a 2:01.223 – a time that bettered the likes of those set by Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel – he reported via the radio that the rain in the final sector of the 7km lap was getting heavier, and immediately pitted.

Within minutes, the track was trenched by another downpour and everyone poured into the pits.

The rain eventually eased and by the final ten minutes, the Spa weather did another magic trick by turning beautifully sunny, prompting several drivers to venture out in an attempt to improve their times.

Alonso went quicker again, posting a fastest time under the 2:01 barrier, and 0.7s quicker than Hamilton, who elected not to leave the safety of the pit lane and still hung on to second place on the timing screens.

The improved conditions helped Robert Kubica – whose Renault was now equipped with an ‘F-duct’ for the first time all season – to vault into third place in the closing minutes of proceedings.

Finishing fourth-quickest was Sebastian Vettel, who wound up just faster than 2010’s renowned rain master, Adrian Sutil, who took Force India to the giddy heights of fifth-fastest.

Another driver not to test the limits of adhesion in the closing minutes was Jenson Button, who dropped to sixth as those around him improved. He finished faster than Mark Webber, with Kamui Kobayashi, Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher rounding out the top ten.

Incredibly and in spite of the conditions, no one managed to damage their cars in the slippery conditions, although a few drivers – such as Felipe Massa, Heikki Kovalainen and the Spa specialist himself, Schumacher – managed at least one off-track moment.


2010 Belgian GP Practice 1 Session Times:

  Driver   Team Time Laps
1. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari 2:00.797 17
2. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes + 0.770 7
3. Robert Kubica POL Renault + 1.284 14
4. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault + 1.653 11
5. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes + 1.849 14
6. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes + 2.116 6
7. Mark Webber AU Red Bull Renault + 2.129 11
8. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari + 2.604 17
9. Rubens Barrichello BRA Williams Cosworth + 2.627 7
10. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP + 2.692 9
11. Felipe Massa BRA Ferrari + 2.804 17
12. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Williams Cosworth + 2.852 17
13. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP + 2.857 6
14. Pedro de la Rosa ESP Sauber Ferrari + 3.054 17
15. Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA_thumb2[1] Force India Mercedes + 3.348 12
16. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari + 3.453 16
17. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault + 3.893 15
18. Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso Ferrari + 4.883 6
19. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth + 4.900 18
20. Lucas di Grassi BRA Virgin Racing Cosworth + 5.898 14
21. Jarno Trulli ITA_thumb2[1] Lotus Cosworth + 6.392 15
22. Heikki Kovalainen FIN_thumb[2] Lotus Cosworth + 6.940 13
23. Bruno Senna BRA HRT Cosworth + 7.158 15
24. Sakon Yamamoto JPN HRT Cosworth + 9.710 18

[Original image via AUTOSPORT]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.