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Ferrari fastest as heavy rain disrupts ONLY practice session at Spa

Ferrari fastest as heavy rain disrupts ONLY practice session at Spa

Ferrari fastest as heavy rain disrupts ONLY practice session at Spa

Ferrari fastest as heavy rain disrupts ONLY practice session at Spa

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz was fastest during the only practice session ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, with torrential rain ensuring a nightmare before qualifying.

Sainz topped the timesheet with an impressive 2:03.207, a lap that saw him finish over half a second ahead of McLaren hotshot Oscar Piastri.

Piastri's team-mate Lando Norris finished third, albeit while 1.2s adrift of Sainz.

The worsening conditions prevented a number of drivers from setting competitive times, with world champion Max Verstappen embarking on just one out lap.

Braving the downpour, Charles Leclerc took fourth with Sergio Perez fifth.

Rounding off the top 10 were Alex Albon, Yuki Tsunoda, Kevin Magnussen, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg.

Below them, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu recorded tentative times in their bid to gather crucial data.

Logan Sargeant, Lance Stroll, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon failed to set times.

READ MORE: Verstappen handed GRID PENALTY for Belgian Grand Prix

Oscar Piastri finished second, half a second behind Sainz

Drama dampened

Albon was the first to venture out, though the first 15 minutes of the crucial session were marred by the continuous, and heavy, downpour.

Albon's Williams, still on the intermediates, later ploughed straight on at the Bus Stop chicane after locking up in the increasingly sodden conditions.

Tsunoda was the next to slide across the track, with his worrying moment coming at Eau Rouge. The AlphaTauri driver cut the corner to avoid spinning out.

With qualifying taking place just hours after the only practice session of the weekend, drivers were frustrated in their wait to ease themselves into the action.

Ferrari sets the pace

This lull in the first half of the session finally gave way to a number of strong laps.

Norris recorded an impressive 2:04.484 on the intermediates, a whopping 3.6s quicker than Leclerc, who had briefly gone fastest.

But Norris was then usurped by Piastri before Sainz moved to the top of the timesheet, with the green tyres the fastest rubber.

However, the duelling at the front of the grid was then brought to a premature halt.

Sainz braved the conditions to set a rapid time

Sargeant crashes

Indeed, Sargeant brought out the red flags with 30 minutes remaining, complaining that he was unable to turn at the end of the Kemmel Straight.

Sargeant had attempted to steer right into the corner but his Williams failed to respond, resulting in him speeding straight on and into the barriers.

The left-hand side of his front wing took a heavy blow and the marshals were deployed to clear up the debris. Thankfully, Sargeant emerged unharmed.

Shortly after, it was confirmed the rain would remain for the rest of the session.

Laying down the law

Midway through practice, the FIA confirmed that the session would not set the grid for Sunday's race should the afternoon's qualifying be cancelled.

The governing body also insisted holding a qualifying session for the race would be a priority, meaning other sessions this weekend may be rescheduled or axed.

Ultimately, the grid will be set by championship order in the absence of qualifying.

Belgian Grand Prix FP1 practice results

1. Carlos Sainz [Ferrari] - +2:03.207sec

2. Oscar Piastri [McLaren] - +0.585sec

3. Lando Norris [McLaren] - +1.277sec

4. Charles Leclerc [Ferrari] - +4.941sec

5. Sergio Perez [Red Bull] - +5.033sec

6. Alex Albon [Williams] - +5.187sec

7. Yuki Tsunoda [AlphaTauri] - +5.860sec

8. Kevin Magnussen [Haas] - +6.022sec

9. Nyck de Vries [AlphaTauri] - +6.112sec

10. Nico Hulkenberg [Haas] - +6.835sec

11. Fernando Alonso [Aston Martin] - +7.076sec

12. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] - +7.092sec

13. George Russell [Mercedes] - +7.268sec

14. Valtteri Bottas [Alfa Romeo] - +8.878sec

15. Zhou Guanyu [Alfa Romeo] - +10.795sec

16. Logan Sargeant [Williams] - NO TIME

17. Lance Stroll [Aston Martin] - NO TIME

18. Pierre Gasly [Alpine] - NO TIME

19. Esteban Ocon [Alpine] - NO TIME

20. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] - NO TIME

READ MORE: Remembering Spa '98 and Schumacher's raging attempt to ASSAULT rival

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