Alonso surprise and Verstappen and Leclerc fiasco in Spa

The Asturian was fourth, half a second behind Red Bull and Mercedes in training. The Dutchman's accident, which was the fastest, and Charles's.


Among the fastest cars on the planet, one talks about the weather because Spa-Francorchamps invites nothing else: it rains, the sun comes out, it rains harder and dries up again. The forecast indicates that these will be the conditions throughout the weekend and nothing would make the almost 100,000 fans who make a pilgrimage to the Ardennes to watch Formula 1 more excited. Mainly, those who have a seat under a roof. Meanwhile, in the garages, the engineers put their hands in their heads to fine-tune the 'set-up' with hardly any miles of profit and on a tarmac that changes with every lap.The track was difficult this Friday in Belgium and this led to constant errors (Kimi hit the wall when entering the pit-lane) and a remarkable accident: Leclerc broke the front wing and the suspension when crashing his Ferrari in Les Combes. When a good driver crashes in free practice, it is often said that he was "looking for the limits." Well yes, they were there.

They were still there when Verstappen went looking for them three minutes from the end of the session, lost “the car from behind, all of a sudden”, and struck with some force from the right side, possibly with damage to the rear suspension. Likewise, it was the first on the times table, although the taste will be rather bitter. The advantage is 41 thousandths over Bottas and Hamilton. It looks like it will be the Finn's last friendly weekend at Mercedes before learning that he will no longer be with the team. The three will play pole this Saturday and possibly victory on Sunday. As long as they pass the first lap without incident, or so Max will think.

Alpine will not be in that fight, even if he won in Hungary, but Fernando Alonso will have given the Enstone team a joy with the fourth best time, less than a second behind the head on a seven kilometer long circuit. Here the Renault were fourth and fifth a year ago under normal conditions, with no notable accidents or absences, and it seems that the A521 has landed well at Spa. Ocon was seventh, four tenths behind the Spaniard, who was only really approached by Gasly with the first Alpha Tauri. Stroll, Vettel, Norris and the revamped Czech round out the top-10.

Sainz, eleventh with the Ferrari

Far, worse than expected, Carlos Sainz's Ferrari starts. It was eleventh, without a great time to a lap, although the race pace is always safe. It is important to qualify well on a circuit with overtaking options, but only for cars that excel at top speed. Something will not have gone right in the garage when one of the two SF21s ends up parked in front of the barriers for a practice session.

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