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Red Bull end Belgium practice day on top // Verstappen and Rosberg top the times in Spa

Published by Christine

Red Bull end Belgium practice day on top
Credit: Dan Istitene/Getty
Red Bull end Belgium practice day on top audio waveform

Free Practice at Spa began in the more traditional fashion, with Nico Rosberg leading the first session. He ran for a handful of laps with the new halo device on, as did Nico Hülkenberg, Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo, all testing out the cockpit protection for a lap here and there. During the day, teams were also running prototype tyres for Pirelli, with the Italian manufacturer hoping to provide stronger compounds to withstand the new F1 kerbs better.

Lewis Hamilton was concentrating on breaking in new engine components, as opposed to all out pace, gradually picking up enough penalties to see him at the back of the grid for Sunday’s race.

Meanwhile, Esteban Ocon finished ahead of teammate Pascal Wehrlein on his debut for the Manor team, but in the afternoon, Wehrlein perked up and finished the day in 11th place, a full second up on Ocon.

Out front, a similar thing happened as Mercedes backed way off the pace and allowed Red Bull to haul out a full second on the rest of the field. Max Verstappen led teammate Ricciardo to end the day with the fastest lap.