Sainz tops extremely wet FP1 at Spa as Verstappen sets no time

Logan Sargeant crashed in very wet conditions hours before qualifying

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Carlos Sainz finished the one and only practice session of the 2023 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix fastest of all.

The Ferrari driver set a time of 2:03:207 in incredibly wet conditions which saw several drivers not set a lap at all, including championship leader Max Verstappen, who will start the race with a five-place grid penalty after a gearbox change.

A brief spell of no rain allowed Sainz to use the intermediates for his fastest lap, but the heavens soon opened again to make the track virtually undriveable.

Behind the Spaniard, McLaren duo Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris proved their car is quick in all conditions by doing just one flying lap. Charles Leclerc was fourth quickest and the best of those using wet tyres while Sergio Perez completed the top five.

This wet and truncated session hasn’t done any favours for the teams wanting to test new upgrades brought to this race or get a qualifying simulation in before the grid is set later on Friday.

Aquaplaning problems

With such a high level of surface water, many drivers struggled with aquaplaning and it certainly bit Logan Sargeant.

The American quickly locked up into Les Combes and even though he tried to turn into the corner and avoid the tyre wall, his Williams would not play ball and continued in a straight line to the scene of the accident.

It’s left Williams with a bit of work to do before qualifying, but the damage is not huge.

Alex Albon, Sargeant’s teammate, also had an aquaplaning moment at the Bus Stop but he was able to stop before the tyres and reverse away, as did Pierre Gasly in the exact same place.

Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis
Motorsport journalist, indyCar correspondent and F1 writer for Total-Motorsport.com
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