Formula 1 is back! So are the arguments…


Formula 1: Back in Spa

Formula 1 is back! And where better to get restarted than the iconic Spa circuit in Belgium? Here is how Friday unfolded…

There was no gentle way back into the action for some, as McLaren’s Lando Norris combined his F2 duties with an opportunity to drive the MCL33 in FP1. He is trying to nudge his way onto the 2019 grid…

Master arrived with apprentice into the paddock area. Renault-bound Daniel Ricciardo and his Red Bull replacement Pierre Gasly proving to be one of the biggest moves of the summer.

Some dark clouds were hovering above the circuit, but it was dry start to proceedings in Belgium.

And it was an even brighter start for the newly-named Racing Point Force India. Lawrence Stroll completing his takeover of the team on Thursday night.

Sebastian Vettel was amongst the early starters on his install lap. Both Mercedes and Ferrari have upgraded Spec-3 engines to play with this weekend.

While Mercedes set the early pace, there were problems for Stoffel Vandoorne, Sergey Sirotkin and Daniel Ricciardo who were all stuck in the garage with various niggling issues.

Vandoorne and Sirotkin re-emerged after the mid-session lull, but no sign of Ricciardo. Sirotkin a little slow in getting to grips with the circuit.

With 15 minutes of the FP1 session remaining and just one install lap to his name, Ricciardo popped on his race overalls again for a quick dash around the Spa circuit.

Back out in front, it was Vettel who emerged as the quickest driver in FP1 with a 1:44.3 on soft tyres.

During the break between FP1 and FP2, the back and forth between Fernando Alonso and Red Bull continued as they argue over whether there was an offer on the table for the Spaniard to replace Ricciardo in 2019.

Fernando Alonso: Row escalates with Red Bull
Fernando Alonso: Row escalates with Red Bull

Before FP2, confirmation came from the FIA that Valtteri Bottas and Nico Hulkenberg will start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid after taking on completely new power units.

There was still a rather unsettled look to the weather as FP2 got underway.

And it was Hamilton and Raikkonen locked in a battle for P1 in the early stages.

Vettel, meanwhile, was out exploring track limits at Spa.

While Hamilton got past a Red Bull for the first time this weekend…

But it was Raikkonen who keep hold of top spot all for himself as Ferrari continued to set the pace ahead of qualifying on Saturday.

Follow all the action from the Belgium Grand Prix via our live race centre