Lewis Hamilton claimed the P1 on Friday at Spa as he edged Kimi Raikkonen, who had been quickest in FP1, and Valtteri Bottas.
Lewis Hamilton: “It’s great to be back! Today felt like one of our strongest Fridays so far this season. The car felt strong all-round straight out of the box. We made some good steps with the set-up right from the start of FP1, which is a really encouraging way to kick off the weekend. It looks tight at the top on the long-run pace, but we’ve started the weekend in the best way possible.”
Valtteri Bottas: “Overall, it was a tricky day. We had some trouble setting up the car and I didn’t feel too comfortable in the beginning. But in the end it was getting better, we made quite big steps. The performance of our car in general is looking good; however, there is still a lot of margin to optimise the car. The long runs in the end were interrupted by the rain, but that was obviously the same for everyone. I’m glad that we at least got a few laps in with high fuel.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Today we somehow expected how practice was going to be and it was not too bad as a start. Obviously there are always things you want to try more and the rain in the end did not help, but it was a pretty normal Friday. It’s hard to compare driving here to a year ago, but it doesn’t feel very different, as we are now quite used to going a bit faster everywhere. We’ll keep working today, this evening and tomorrow morning, in order to be stronger for qualifying. There are things we have to go through to do better, as is the case with any Friday at any race circuit. There’s no point now to start guessing what the others are doing, we’ll see tomorrow in qualifying, but I’m sure we can be fast.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I am not entirely happy but overall I think the car is ok. We just need to put a little bit more together. This is a nice track and the cars have more grip, so it is more fun. It should be nice tomorrow even if I don’t know what the weather will be like. This is a long track, so it is not that easy to put everything together. I didn’t really find the rhythm today but the long run was better. So, overall the car is capable of being fast, but we need to get it right. I need to do my job and I know I can go faster. On Friday it is always difficult to judge the situation, because on Saturday it seems that everyone makes a step forward. If we can do that, then we can be very close. We are here to give a hard time to our competitors.”
Max Verstappen: “An OK first day back here at Spa but nothing special. Between Daniel and myself we tried a few set-ups to improve speed on the straights, it’s somewhere we need to improve in order to fight so we are trying to find a good compromise. At the moment we don’t seem too far off the two top teams but it is only Friday, I’m sure it will be a different gap tomorrow. It’s hard here to find the set-up to be competitive on the straights but also balanced in the corners, we will make some steps in the right direction tonight, hopefully. In the dry I think we will be the solid third team like we have seen so far this season. Although it’s raining at the moment I don’t think there is much more forecast. This is a shame as it would definitely help us; fingers crossed we get a bit more for the race. There is already a lot of orange to be seen in the crowd and it’s only Friday, I’m expecting to see a lot more tomorrow and Sunday which is really great and nice to see so many fans supporting me, it always helps come race day.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “This track is always a bit of a compromise. The first and third sector is very fast and in the second sector you need the downforce. I tried to be quick in the first and third part, but the compromise wasn’t good enough. I still lost too much in the second sector. Yes there was some traffic as well and without that I could’ve probably gone a few tenths quicker but it still wouldn’t have put me in the Top 5. For sure we won’t keep the same set-up tomorrow. Whether we’ll go in Max’s direction or try to find a better compromise between the two we’ll see, but we’ll definitely be stronger tomorrow. The objective is not to lose too much time on the straights. For tomorrow it would be good if it was dry, because I’d like to try the ideal set-up and see how much potential we have.”