Belgian GP - Saturday - Practice Session 3 Report

Spa Specialist

Kimi Raikkonen, Belgian GP 2017

Kimi Raikkonen, Belgian GP 2017 

 © RV Press

 

By Dan Knutson in Spa-Francorchamps

Kimi Raikkonen is a bit of a Spa specialist as he won the Belgian Grand Prix four times between 2004 and 2009. He special on Saturday morning as well as he put his Ferrari on top of the time sheets in Free Practice 3.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 60-minute session was 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Centigrade).

The lineup for the weekend was: Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas; Red Bull TAG Heuer - Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen; Ferrari - Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen; Force India Mercedes - Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon; Williams Mercedes - Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll; McLaren Honda - Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne; Renault - Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer; Toro Rosso Renault - Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz; Haas Ferrari - Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; Sauber Ferrari - Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein.

Hamilton went fastest on Friday with a time of 1:44.753.

"We started on the right foot," he said on Friday. "The car felt pretty good from the get go and we just went from strength to strength. I'm not really understanding why the others weren't as quick on the soft tires, but that's cool for me. And then on the race pace it was all a little bit closer. But it's been a good Friday, one of the better Fridays I can remember so I hope that carries on for the weekend."

The track was still damp in places after an overnight rain, so it was officially designated a "wet track" and some drivers went out on the intermediate rain tires. But there was no rush to do anything more than an install lap if that.

When the drivers did get interested, Hamilton put his car out front with a time of 1:45.480 on Pirelli's super soft tires. The other dry compounds available were the soft and ultra soft. But, still, 22 minutes into the session only eight drivers had done a flying lap.

Raikkonen beat that with a 1:45.422. Just before the halfway mark Vettel slotted into second with a 1:45.458. He also used the super softs.

Ricciardo became the first of the top drivers to go out on the ultra soft tires, but he had to slow for the yellow flags when Kvyat parked his car on the straight between Turns 4 and 5.

"Lost the power," he radioed.

Ricciardo's next attempt put him first with a 1:45.286. Now others were on the ultras including Verstappen who turned a 1:45.034. Then Raikkonen slammed in a 1:43.916. Vettel was 0.197 of a second slower, and Hamilton 0.198 slower.

With 15 minutes remaining, the order was: Raikkonen, Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas, Ricciardo, Palmer and Alonso.

In the final five minutes most drivers went out for a final run. But there was no improvement in the top seven.

The final order was: Raikkonen, Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas, Ricciardo, Palmer, Perez, Sainz and Alonso.


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