F1 Belgian Grand Prix LIVE: Practice build-up, Hamilton favourite for chequered flag – latest updates

F1 is back from a fortnight break as the season moves on to the challenging Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

Valterri Bottas has proved quick in practice and got the better of Lewis Hamilton in the morning session, with FP2 now underway.

Follow all the latest build-up ahead of the big race on Sunday below…

  • RICCIARDO STOPS ON TRACK

    He's had a solid day until now. He's second on the time sheets.

    But he's being pushed off track.

  • FERRARI WOES

    Worth remembering that Ferrari were on pole by 0.748s at Spa-Francorchamps 12 months ago.

    Now they are in 15th and 17th place and, based on that, will struggle to get out of Q1.

  • GROSJEAN IS NOW OUT ON TRACK TOO

    Like Magnussen, he is making up for lost time.

  • MAGNUSSEN IS OUT

    Haas have changed the engine on the Dane's car. He missed FP1 and he now has the remaining 30 minutes of FP2 to get up to speed.

    Grosjean remains in the pits.

  • AND NOW VERSTAPPEN…

    Lap times are tumbling. Verstappen now leads Ricciardo then Hamilton.

    The track is rubbering in. No rain. Times will drop.

  • NOW WE SEE THE MERCEDES PACE

    Hamilton has blasted it across the line on the soft tyres. He goes top.

    Alex Albon is currently second-quickest in his Red Bull. That is a morale-boosting lap for him.

  • VERSTAPPEN SETS THE BENCHMARK

    The Red Bull man goes quickest with a time of 1:44.354 to set a marker.

    But the two Mercedes men are out on track.

    Still, little improvement for Ferrari. Leclerc in 12th and Vettel in 16th.

  • BUSY TRACK NOW

    Looking at onboard footage of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes, is seems as though that car is bolted to the track.

    The only concern this weekend will be the tyres – will they last?

    Plus, the weather. Yet he only seems to excel in the wet.

  • ALFA ROMEOS OUT ON TRACK

    Antonio Giovinazzi missed the first session due to a water leak.

  • FP2 IS GO

    But no drivers are in their cockpits.

    It is a damp track after a little shower, so the teams are just waiting for the track to dry out a little.

  • ‘TTERI-N IT UP

    Valtteri Bottas set the pace ahead of Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton in Friday's opening practice session for the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix.

    The Finn, who turned 31 on Friday, lapped the seven km Spa-Francorchamps track in one minute 44.493 seconds, beating Hamilton by just 0.069 seconds on a cool and cloudy morning.

    Max Verstappen was best of the rest again in third for Red Bull.

    The Dutchman, who has a Belgian mother and is missing the support of his army of orange-clad supporters who usually throng the grandstands at Spa, was hot on the Mercedes pair's heels, ending the session just 0.081 seconds off the pace.

    Hamilton, winner of four of this season's six races and currently in the form of his life, leads the overall standings by 37 points from Verstappen.

    Bottas, who won the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix in July, is third 43 points behind his team mate.

    With 11 of this season's 17 races still to run, he needs to start turning the tide if he is to have any hope of denying Hamilton a record-equalling seventh title at the end of the year.

    Sergio Perez was fourth in his Mercedes-inspired Racing Point ahead of Canadian team mate Lance Stroll.

    Alexander Albon, who drove his first race for Red Bull at Spa last year after moving up from junior team Toro Rosso now rebranded Alpha Tauri, was sixth.

    Esteban Ocon, who made his Formula One debut in Belgium in 2016, was seventh for Renault ahead of McLaren's Carlos Sainz.

    Daniel Ricciardo was ninth in the other Renault with Briton Lando Norris rounding out the top-10 for McLaren.

  • HAM LOOKING GOOD

    Lewis Hamilton was able to get through the gears in his Mercedes this afternoon.

  • SESSION DONE

    Bottas draws first blood in his battle with Hamilton.

    Verstappen again is the best-of-the-rest.

  • BOTTAS HAS A PUNCTURE

    He is told his front left tyre is deflating.

    Could this be a return of the tyre problems Mercedes experienced at Silverstone?

    Bottas says over the radio: “I am getting used to these punctures. I had one last week on my road car.”

    He is back in the garage.

  • LESS THAN 8 MINUTES TO GO

    And it is Bottas, Hamilton, Verstappen, Perez and Stroll at the top.

    Raikkonen, Leclerc, Vettel, Latifi and Russell at the bottom.

  • LOOKS GOOD, DOESN'T IT?

  • MORE ON FERRARI

    Leclerc is in 13th and Vettel is in 14th place on the timesheets, that is simply not good enough.

    Also worth noting that the Ferrari-engined powered teams are Alfa Romeo and Haas.

    Three of those four cars have not even set a lap time.

    This is a big concern for the Italian team.

  • FERRARI CONTINUE TO STRUGGLE

    Yes, it is only practice but Sebastian Vettel's lap is currently the slowest on the board.

    An incredible 2.7sec slower than Alex Albon.

    That Ferrari took pole on this track last year.

    An incredible slump.

  • DOUBLE BLOW FOR HAAS

    Remember Grosjean said he lost power? His car needs and engine change.

    And so too does his teammate, Kevin Magnussen.

    Both drivers are out of this session while their mechanics change the power units.

  • HAMILTON SWAPS FOR NEW TYRES

    And he responds by setting the quickest lap of the session so far.

  • LECLERC AND HAMILTON HAVING PROBLEMS

    The Ferrari man struggles and locks up his tyres and goes off track twice.

    And now Hamilton does the same, a lock-up and loses control.

    Both drivers are using the hard compounds but haven't even put 10 laps on those tyres, yet they are toast.

  • VERSTAPPEN CURRENTLY QUICKEST

    The Red Bull man is looking comfortable at the moment while his teammate, Alex Albon needs a clean weekend.

    The London-born Thai racer has had difficulty in qualifying, giving him more work to do on a Sunday.

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