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Raikkonen heads Ferrari 1-2 in final practice

NEWS STORY
26/08/2017

Ahead of today's sole practice session, the air temperature is 19 degrees C, while the track temperature is 21 degrees. Though overcast, Race Control claims there is 0% chance of rain.

That said, the track remains damp following heavy overnight rain.

While Kimi Raikkonen topped the timesheets in yesterday's opening session and Lewis Hamilton did the honours in FP2, it was noticeable that the Briton was very, very quick on the soft rubber while the Ferraris needed the ultrasofts and supers for their best times.

That said, not only did Hamilton appear unhappy on the softer rubber, reporting heating and vibrating issues, on the longer runs the Ferraris appeared to get the best from their tyres.

The final half hour of FP2 was washed-out by the rain and while Red Bull 4th and 6th, it is telling that when asked about weather conditions for Sunday, Christian Horner admitted that he hoped it would "p*** down" all day.

In terms of the leading six it was business as usual, with seventh quickest Nico Hulkenberg over 1.2s off the pace of the leaders. Sebastian Ocon and Carlos Sainz impressed while Felipe Massa missed FP2 after damaging his car in the first session, necessitating the spare to be built.

With the rain curtailing the teams' long runs on the ultras yesterday, we can expect a fairly mixed and busy session this morning.

The lights go green and Magnussen leads the way, followed by Wehrlein and Grosjean. With Race Control having declared the track "wet", all are on the advised Inters for their exploratory lap. Not so Vettel or Verstappen who head straight out on the supers.

Alonso reports that his DRS didn't close, an issue suffered by both Haas drivers yesterday.

Having taken a huge gamble yesterday and run Ricciardo with a Monza-type aero set up, following the issues the Australian encountered he is today running with a more traditional set-up though with a little less wing in the search for higher speed on a track where the Renault engine is losing out to Mercedes and Ferrari.

Ten minutes into the session, Ericsson, Perez, Ocon, Hamilton and Sainz have yet to appear.

Indeed, as they wait on the track to fully dry - Bottas claiming that it is still wet at T5 (Les Combes), most drivers are now opting to sit it out.

Kvyat posts the first time of the day, the Russian crossing the line at 1:48.498.

"Track is beginning to dry out," says Pirelli, "helpful for teams to establish where the crossover point is between inters and slicks."

As Sainz posts 47.620 and Bottas 46.493, Hamilton finally heads out. Like the leading three, the Briton is on the supersofts.

No messing about from Hamilton who shoots straight to the top of the timesheets with a 45.480, 1.013s quicker than his teammate.

Massa goes fifth, albeit on the ultras.

Quickest in S2, Raikkonen goes second with a 45.583 as teammate Vettel begins his first flying lap of the day.

Having gone quickest in S1, Hamilton backs off in the remaining sectors.

A 45.923 sees Ricciardo go third, with teammate Verstappen going fourth moments later with a 46.107.

The Red Bull duo are demoted when Vettel posts 45.737 to go third.

Stroll reports a "huge" flat-spotted tyre following a lock-up at the final chicane causing an issue, his fears borne out by the TV evidence.

As Raikkonen goes quickest (45.422), Ocon - down in ninth - goes quickest in S1.

"I got sideways," reports Raikkonen after a major wobble in T9.

Vettel makes it a Ferrari 1-2 when he crosses the line at 45.458, just 0.036s down on his teammate.

Alonso improves to seventh (46.889) but is immediately demoted when Palmer posts a 46.648.

At 'half-time', all but Ericsson have posted a time, Sauber confirming that the Sweded has a "technical problem".

As Grosjean complains about his brakes, Vandoorne in on a long run on ultras as he makes up for yesterday's lost time.

Kvyat pulls off track on the Kemmel Straight leading to the waving of double yellows. All of which compromises those drivers on hot laps, including the Red Bull duo.

As the Toro Rosso is pushed to safety, flames spit from the rear of the car.

Hamilton heads out on the ultras as Ricciardo - also on the purple-banded tyre - goes quickest with a 45.286.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Spa, here.

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