Kimi Räikkönen led a Ferrari 1-2 in final practice at the Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix ahead of teammate and current championship leader Sebastian Vettel. The four-time winner at Spa-Francorchamps broke the Formula 1 lap record around the seven-kilometre circuit in an ominous display of pace.

With the circuit drying after morning rain showers, the field briefly ran their installation laps on Intermediate tyres before beginning to finalise their set-ups in earnest ahead of this afternoon’s all-important qualifying session.

Ferrari and Mercedes once again proved to be closely matched on the stopwatch, with both teams swapping fastest lap times on the Ultra Soft compound during their qualifying-style runs.

Ultimately it was Räikkönen, who was quickest in Friday’s morning practice session, who went quickest with a rapid 1:43.916 effort to shatter Jarno Trulli’s record time of 1:44.503 that had stood since 2009. Teammate Vettel made it a 1-2 on the timesheets, a couple of tenths of a second adrift and just 0.001 seconds faster than his chief championship rival Lewis Hamilton.

Behind the top three, there was a considerable gap to the Red Bull Racing duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo who lapped fourth- and sixth-fastest, albeit over a second off Räikkönen’s ultimate pace. The pair was split by Valtteri Bottas, who had an uncharacteristically scrappy session in the second Mercedes and could not string together a representative lap time.

Jolyon Palmer lapped seventh-quickest in an encouraging demonstration as he fights to retain his seat at Renault; the Englishman was over 0.4 seconds quicker than teammate Nico Hülkenberg, who was eleventh-fastest.

Eighth-fastest was Force India’s Sergio Pérez, who posted the fastest split time in the first sector of the lap where straight-line speed is key. His VJM10 was clearly carrying little in the way of rear downforce, as evidenced by his much poorer sector split times over the remainder of the lap. The Mexican’s teammate Esteban Ocon was twelfth-fastest, slipping down the order late in the session as a number of other runners bettered the Frenchman’s early lap time.

The top-ten positions were completed by the Spanish pairing of Carlos Sainz Jr and Fernando Alonso.

Behind Hülkenberg and Ocon, Haas’ Romain Grosjean showed an improved turn of speed in the Ferrari-powered VF-17 but once again complained about braking stability as he suffered a number of front lock-ups during the session.

Local driver Stoffel Vandoorne finished fourteenth-fastest in his McLaren-Honda. The Belgian’s original 40-place grid penalty has now increased to a whopping 65-place grid drop following further power unit changes.

Williams looks set to struggle this weekend as evidenced by Lance Stroll and Felipe Massa’s lowly positions on the timesheets in fifteenth and sixteenth respectively. Stroll briefly ran as high as seventh-fastest thanks to an Ultra Soft tyre run, but the Canadian teenager fell down the order in the final minutes.

His teammate Felipe Massa turned his first laps in anger this weekend after being forced to sit out Friday’s action thanks to his heavy crash early on in FP1. The Brazilian has also been summoned to the stewards for failing to slow sufficiently when double yellow flags were being waved while Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso was being pulled behind the barriers after the Russian’s car suffered a terminal failure and a small fire on the Kemmel Straight.

Sauber finished at the foot of the timesheets behind Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and the aforementioned Kvyat, with Pascal Wehrlein outpacing Marcus Ericsson this time around. Ericsson only emerged on track in the dying minutes, losing much of the session while his mechanics reassembled his car after a technical issue was encountered during his installation lap.

Saturday’s qualifying session at Spa will begin at 14:00 local time (GMT +2).

Driver Team / Entry Time Tyre Laps
1. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:43.916 Pirelli Ultra Soft 17
2. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:44.113 Pirelli Ultra Soft 15
3. Lewis Hamilton uk Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:44.114 Pirelli Ultra Soft 11
4. Max Verstappen nl Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:45.034 Pirelli Ultra Soft 13
5. Valtteri Bottas fi Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:45.230 Pirelli Ultra Soft 18
6. Daniel Ricciardo au Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:45.286 Pirelli Ultra Soft 18
7. Jolyon Palmer Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:45.491 Pirelli Ultra Soft 11
8. Sergio Pérez Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:45.857 Pirelli Ultra Soft 14
9. Carlos Sainz Jr es Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:45.942 Pirelli Ultra Soft 18
10. Fernando Alonso es McLaren-Honda MCL32 1:46.060 Pirelli Ultra Soft 12
11. Nico Hulkenberg de Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:46.064 Pirelli Ultra Soft 11
12. Esteban Ocon fr Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:46.179 Pirelli Ultra Soft 14
13. Romain Grosjean fr Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:46.196 Pirelli Super Soft 14
14. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda MCL32 1:46.300 Pirelli Ultra Soft 14
15. Lance Stroll ca Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:46.620 Pirelli Ultra Soft 18
16. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:46.667 Pirelli Ultra Soft 22
17. Kevin Magnussen dk Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:46.690 Pirelli Super Soft 13
18. Daniil Kvyat ru Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:47.903 Pirelli Super Soft 7
19. Pascal Wehrlein de Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:48.296 Pirelli Ultra Soft 17
20. Marcus Ericsson se Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:48.300 Pirelli Ultra Soft 6

Image via Scuderia Ferrari

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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.