Belgian Grand Prix: Carlos Sainz Tops Rain-Soaked FP1 Session at Spa-Francorchamps

Sprint Weekend Kicks Off with Carlos Sainz Topping FP1 in Belgium Image
Source: PlanetF1

Carlos Sainz Tops Rain-Soaked FP1 Session at Spa-Francorchamps. Amidst challenging conditions, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, showed his charming performance.

The stage is now set for an exciting Sprint weekend, as fans eagerly await to see if anyone can halt Max Verstappen’s relentless march towards an eighth-successive victory.

Carlos Sainz Tops Rain-Soaked FP1 Session at Spa-Francorchamps

In a rain-soaked start to the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, Carlos Sainz of Ferrari displayed his prowess by topping the Free Practice 1 (FP1) session at Spa-Francorchamps.

Alongside Sainz, McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris, managed to set representative times despite the limited running opportunities.

With the rain continuing to pour and a red flag incident causing interruptions, the drivers faced an uphill battle to gain valuable insights and prepare for qualifying.

FP1 Conditions and Challenges

During the Free Practice 1 (FP1) session at the Belgian Grand Prix, drivers encountered challenging conditions as heavy rain soaked the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

The near-constant rainfall presented visibility and control challenges, leading to limited running opportunities.

Several incidents, including a red flag, further hampered practice. Despite the difficulties, Carlos Sainz emerged as a standout performer, setting an impressive lap time.

The unpredictable weather and its impact on Qualifying and the race added to the excitement of the upcoming Sprint weekend.

Carlos Sainz’s Dominance

The Spaniard showcased his dominance during the Belgian Grand Prix Free Practice 1 (FP1) session.

Despite the challenging rain-soaked conditions at Spa-Francorchamps, Sainz set an impressive lap time that placed him ahead of his competitors.

His skill and adaptability in the wet weather highlighted Ferrari’s competitive performance, making him a strong contender for the upcoming race weekend.

McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris

Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris Follow Carlos Sainz at FP1 Session in Belgian Grand Prix Image
Source: PlanetF1

The young talents of McLaren, Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris, delivered impressive performances during the rain-hit FP1 session at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Piastri secured a notable 2nd place, with Norris closely following in 3rd place even with the severely unfavorable conditions on the track.

Their strong showing highlights McLaren’s potential in the race weekend, adding to the excitement of the upcoming Sprint format events.

Verstappen’s Struggles

Max Verstappen, the championship leader seeking an 8th-successive Grand Prix victory, faced challenges during the rain-soaked Free Practice 1 (FP1) at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Opting not to set a lap time, Verstappen’s decision, combined with a 5-place grid penalty for exceeding his gearbox allowance, added to his struggles.

With Red Bull’s impressive 12-race winning streak at stake, Verstappen’s performance in the upcoming races becomes crucial.

FP1 Results at Spa

1Carlos SainzFerrari2:03.207
2Oscar PiastriMcLaren Mercedes2:03.792+0.585s
3Lando NorrisMcLaren Mercedes2:04.484+1.277s
4Charles LeclercFerrari2:08.148+4.941s
5Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda2:08.240+5.033s
6Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes2:08.394+5.187s
7Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri Honda RBPT2:09.067+5.860s
8Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari2:09.229+6.022s
9Daniel RicciardoAlphaTauri Honda RBPT2:09.319+6.112s
10Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari2:10.042+6.835s
11Fernando AlonsoAston Martin AMG2:10.283+7.076s
12Lewis HamiltonMercedes2:10.299+7.092s
13George RussellMercedes2:10.475+7.268s
14Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari2:12.085+8.878s
15Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari2:14.002+10.795s
16Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes
17Lance StrollAston Martin AMG
18Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault
19Esteban OconAlpine Renault
20Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda

Implications for Qualifying and Race

The rain-soaked Free Practice 1 (FP1) session at the Belgian Grand Prix had significant implications for both Qualifying and the race.

With the rain forecast to continue, the FIA’s decision to set the grid based on championship order if Qualifying couldn’t be completed added uncertainty.

The drivers’ strategies and adaptability in changing conditions will play a crucial role in determining the race outcome, making the upcoming Sprint weekend even more intriguing.

Safety Considerations

The safety considerations loomed large at the Belgian Grand Prix 2023, particularly with the challenging wet conditions at Spa-Francorchamps.

Following the recent accident in the Formula Regional European Championship at the circuit, discussions surrounding track safety were prominent in the paddock.

The rain’s intensification during Free Practice 1 posed additional risks, leading to red flag incidents and cautious driving. Measures to ensure drivers’ safety and track suitability were of utmost importance as the weekend progressed.

George Russell’s Plea to Cancel the Belgian Grand Prix 2023

Mercedes driver, George Russell made a heartfelt plea to cancel the Grand Prix due to the treacherous conditions.

As a driver for Mercedes, Russell was well aware of the risks and challenges posed by the continuous rainfall at Spa-Francorchamps.

In his statement to the team and the race organizers, Russell emphasized the importance of prioritizing safety above all else, considering the deaths of Dilano van ‘t Hoff and Anthoine Hubert in 2019, that happened at the same circuit.

Read: F1 Sensation George Russell Urges Cancellation of Belgian Grand Prix for Driver Safety


In conclusion, Carlos Sainz showcased his dominance by topping the timesheets, while McLaren’s young talents Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris demonstrated their competitive potential.

However, championship leader Max Verstappen’s struggles and a grid penalty added intrigue to the upcoming race weekend. 

With the implications of rain affecting Qualifying and the race, drivers’ adaptability and strategies will be pivotal in determining the outcomes.

Safety considerations remained paramount, especially following recent incidents, underscoring the importance of vigilance throughout the Sprint format events.

Fans await eagerly to see how the excitement unfolds at this iconic circuit.

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