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What the teams said – Qualifying in Belgium

Special Contributor

Becky Hart
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SPA, BELGIUM - JULY 28: 20th placed qualifier Nico Hulkenberg of Germany and Haas F1 walks in the

Red Bull

It was a surprisingly messy qualifying by Verstappen, especially considering he beat the field by over eight tenths of a second. Towards the end of Q2 he had a lap time deleted for track limits, then didn’t nail his last run and only just squeaked into Q3 in 10th place. After berating his race engineer – who he did apologise to later on – he came out with renewed focus in Q3 and nailed his last lap by a huge margin. But it won’t be pole thanks to a five-place grid drop for Sunday’s Grand Prix. Perez had a much more composed session, and his P3 becomes second on the grid once his team mate’s penalty is applied.

Max Verstappen,1st, 1:46.168

“It was quite tough out there today; the conditions were tricky and there was only one dry line. Q2 was close, I had to abort my first lap because I went wide, we then did a slow lap and lost quite a bit of temperature in the tyres, the track ramped up pretty quickly so it was very close. The final lap in Q3 went well, we had to risk it all and to be on pole here feels great. We obviously have a very good race car and even in these tricky conditions we were able to show that again today. We have a gearbox penalty for the race on Sunday, last year we had more penalties and started even further back but the car is better this year, so I am still targeting a win. It definitely feels like a second home race, I grew up not far from here and it’s great to see so many fans. It was tough out here with the rain but everyone got stuck in and that’s great to see, so thank you very much!”

Sergio Perez, 3rd, 1:47.045

“Every qualifying has its challenges, the conditions were super tricky: it took all Q1 to dry up and then the tyres were too warm in Q2 but then it all came together in Q3. We really needed to find the limits today and I am pleased to have finished in the top three. For the Sprint race tomorrow, we have good information about the crossover times and have a very busy day ahead of us. On Sunday, I will try my best and try to get Charles at the start which is always hard! But it is a long race, with high degradation and anything can happen. We certainly have a good position and are looking forward to it.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal

"Weather wise, it was all over the place again. Torrential rain to start and finishing in bright sunshine certainly made things interesting from a strategy point of view, but that’s Spa. In terms of the racing, it was a great performance from both drivers. Max was on brilliant form once again, showing exactly why this is his favourite track while Checo delivered in the fashion we all know he is capable of for qualifying, finishing a couple of hundredths off Charles – earning what will become his first front row since Miami. The penalty drops Max down the grid. Starting in 6th and with Checo carrying his momentum on to the front row, will make for a good race on Sunday!”

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SPA, BELGIUM - JULY 28: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing prepares to drive in the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on July 28, 2023 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Ferrari

Sainz finished on top of the very wet FP1 session, which indicated that Ferrari might have a pretty good car here this weekend. So it proved with both drivers making Q3 – albeit in the case of Leclerc, via a flurry of angry messages after he felt he was impeded by the Haas of Magnussen. Once into the Q3 session, Leclerc put that to one side to grab provisional pole, but had no answer to Verstappen’s final run. Nonetheless, he inherits that P1 slot for Sunday, while Sainz was left slightly disappointed with fifth – which at least again becomes fourth.

FACTS AND STATS: Ferrari set new record in Belgian GP qualifying as Leclerc maintains Sprint front-row streak

Charles Leclerc, 2nd, 1:46.988

"On the one hand, it feels good because I struggled quite a bit in these conditions up until a few races ago and the hard work I put into my driving has paid off. I really felt at ease in the car.

"In Q3, we may have gone out a bit early, but at the end, it’s always down to risk versus reward, and we wanted to avoid any yellow flags. Our result is good, and we wouldn’t have been able to finish in front of Max (Verstappen) today. I expect him to catch up in the race on Sunday and with Checo in the mix, it will be a good challenge."

Carlos Sainz, 5th, 1:47.152

"Tricky qualifying today with the changing conditions. Every time we were going out we found a completely different track. We managed to go nicely through Q1 and Q2 but in Q3 I didn’t put together my best lap, having a moment in T8-9 which cost me some positions.

"We’ll start P4 on Sunday, which isn’t bad, and anything can happen this weekend with the weather, so we’ll see what we can come up with for the race."

Fred Vasseur, Team Principal

"Qualifying today was a bit chaotic, as we had to put everything together in just one lap in Q3, but overall it was a good session for us, if you take Max out of the equation, as he was flying, but we will start from P1 and P4 on Sunday which is a good starting point.

"We have not really been able to look at race set-up, because free practice was really wet and then we went into quali on Inters before finally being able to use slicks. But that was the case for all the teams, and it’s much better to start at the front than from the back. We saw huge differences in top speeds today, which means teams have gone for different options for Saturday and Sunday and we must wait and see what the weather will be for the rest of the weekend. I don’t want to make any forecasts for Sunday. We just have to do our best and try and get the most out of the car and the drivers.

"So far, I think the team has done a very good job, so on Sunday, we will focus on our own race rather than on what any others behind Charles might do."

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SPA, BELGIUM - JULY 28: Second placed qualifier Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari looks on, in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on July 28, 2023 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Mercedes

Mercedes have opted for two very different set ups for their drivers this weekend, Russell running a higher downforce rear wing and Hamilton a skinnier version. It looked like the low downforce option worked better in qualifying, with Hamilton able to grab fourth, which becomes third on Sunday and leaves him right in the mix. Russell could only manage P8 but may well end up having the better set up for the longer runs. Only time will tell.

Lewis Hamilton, 4th, 1:47.087

"I’m happy with today’s result. It was a hectic session as it was consistently drying up. It was very slippery at the beginning and visibility was a challenge. You know that every lap you are going to be improving as it dries up, so you need to maximise it. That’s why we were waiting at the end of the pitlane each session and the Team did a great job of getting us out there and finding clear track. I kept my head down and focused on maximising as much as I could.

"At the end, we were a good chunk off Max and his lap was pretty impressive. We’re pleased with where we are starting though. I’ll now have Max behind me on Sunday, but the aim is definitely to fight for a podium and chase down the guys ahead. No one got any real running in FP1 so I’m hoping that we have decent long run pace. Setting the car up ahead of qualifying was a bit of a guessing game. The car felt pretty decent, but we lost a lot of time in the middle sector. We’ll go away, study it, and see where there is time to be found. We will work on making any improvements we can, and we’ll be giving it everything we’ve got for the rest of the weekend. So far though, it’s a good start."

George Russell, 8th, 1:47.805

"It was a dynamic session. We were a bit off the pace for the entire session and struggled throughout; I’m not sure why. I usually love those transitional conditions between wet and dry, but on every lap we were nowhere. There’s plenty to review and try to understand. We know qualifying isn’t everything around here, but we would of course have liked to be higher up the order.

"The lack of running in FP1 wasn’t too much of a factor as it’s the same for everyone. You always want to do more laps to further your understanding, but the car didn’t feel too bad. There’s a decent amount for us to try and understand overnight."

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

"Sprint race weekends are challenging. When you get no useful running in the first session, they become even more difficult. You need to rely entirely on the pre-weekend simulations to set the car up and get it balanced. Today’s qualifying session was tricky with the changing conditions; the long lap doesn’t make that any easier as you don’t get many attempts in each session.

"Lewis was very close to Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez but unfortunately, we were missing a tenth. George struggled a bit for pace as the track moved to dry. We’ll have a look through the data and see what there is to learn ahead of the sprint qualifying tomorrow; hopefully we’ll find a bit of speed. We’ve had no real dry running yet, so the sprint race is going to a bit of a long run test ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix. We can’t change the car now so hopefully we’ve got the race balance in the right place."

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SPA, BELGIUM - JULY 28: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W14 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on July 28, 2023 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

McLaren

Norris and Piastri both showed they weren’t afraid of a little rain, opting to spend much of FP1 on the intermediate tyres when everyone else was running wets. That optimism set the tone for the rest of the day, with both drivers looking in with a shout of pole. Norris ran wide in Q1 over the gravel, damaging his floor which took him out of the reckoning somewhat, and left Piastri to fly the flag for the team. The rookie did a brilliant job, quickest of all in Q2 but wound up sixth when it mattered. He is the last driver to inherit a place from Verstappen’s grid drop.

Lando Norris, 7th, 1:47.669

"Tough session. Tricky in these conditions, as always. I went off at the start of Q1 when the track was wet and that punished us a lot because it damaged the floor a huge amount. The team did an incredible job to get the car back out for the end of Q1, and it was good to be able to get the most out of the car under the circumstances. Getting into Q2 and Q3 was already a positive thing after Q1. So, overall, not the best of days but I think we made the most of the situation and we have to take P7 for the starting position on Sunday."

Oscar Piastri, 6th, 1:47.365

"I’m reasonably happy with P6 in qualifying, though I think there was maybe a bit more left in Q3. We were really quick until that point. I think in the last session it really dried up a lot, and that was my first dry lap of Spa in an F1 car. I was kind-of hoping it would stay a bit wetter but overall, still not too bad. I think everybody probably feels like they had a bit more left but it’s a decent grid spot for Sunday and we’ll see what we can do from there."

Andrea Stella, Team Principal

"It was a busy qualifying session with conditions that got drier and drier, requiring the team to constantly adapt run plans, and revise tyre choices.

"Oscar did a very good job to go with that, being quick in all sessions and precise with his driving, and he’ll start the race from a competitive P5. On Lando’s side, an off-track moment in the wet in Q1 caused significant damage to the floor. His mechanics did a fantastic job to patch it up and get him going again, even if car performance was degraded, and Lando managed to qualify in P7, which was a proper piece of damage limitation.

"We’ve got two McLarens up there for Sunday and hope to score decent points. But first, we have an interesting Saturday ahead."

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SPA, BELGIUM - JULY 28: Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren looks on in the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on July 28, 2023 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Aston Martin

Aston Martin remain slightly off the pace of the rest of the upper midfield yet again, although they did get both cars into Q3, which in mixed conditions, was no mean feat. Alonso looked fast on the initial runs in Q3, but couldn’t live with the rest once the track ramped up. Nor could Stroll, who in truth was lucky to make it through after fitting inters in Q2 at the exact moment the rest of the field went to slicks.

Fernando Alonso, 9th, 1:47.843

“Qualifying was stressful. Every lap was a new game – you had to adapt all the time to the changing levels of grip. You had to trust the car – we were taking corners faster and faster each lap, so it was a little bit of a guessing game. We progressed through Q1 and Q2, which was one of our main targets. Q3 was extremely tight – we ended up a few tenths off seventh place, which was probably the maximum we could have achieved today.

“I think the AMR23 was behaving well today: we’re still missing those final couple of tenths to our main competitors – particularly over a flying lap – but hopefully we can recover some of that pace on Sunday.”

Lance Stroll, 10th, 1:48.841

“Given the tough conditions, I think getting two cars through to Q3 is a good result, but we would have liked a little more today. It always becomes tricky when the track is drying throughout a session; making the correct tyre call becomes more of a challenge and you have to be prepared to make very last-minute decisions. From that perspective, I think we made some good calls and it felt like we were on the right tyre at the right time. The track was improving a lot towards the end of Q3 though, so we probably played it a little safe being the first car across the line. We’ll review the data this evening and get ready to go again tomorrow.”

Mike Krack, Team Principal

“Getting both cars into the top 10 is a decent outcome from a challenging day. It is never easy when you have a drying track evolving so quickly, but both drivers delivered clean and tidy laps. We have put ourselves in a reasonable position for Sunday’s race.”

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SPA, BELGIUM - JULY 28: Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) Aston Martin AMR23 Mercedes on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on July 28, 2023 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

AlphaTauri

Ricciardo had done enough to make Q2 on his final flying lap, but he lost the time to track limits after losing control through Raidillon and running wide. That made it 1-1 in the qualifying stakes at AlphaTauri, with Tsunoda making Q2 and not being far off Q3. Had he set his lap time a little later when the track was at its best, the Japanese racer could well have caused an upset out there today.

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the action from qualifying in Belgium as Leclerc inherits pole from Verstappen and Ocon hits the wall

Daniel Ricciardo, 19th, 2:02.159

"It’s frustrating to have my lap time deleted because of track limits at Turn 4. I tried to take Eau Rouge flat, I thought it was possible, but I was drifting off the good line and had to lift to try to stay on track, but it was just drifting. As soon as I got over the Turn 4 kerb, I knew I was probably over. I tried to put it behind me and keep going with the lap – you have an idea, but you never really know if you’re off, so I obviously kept pushing. I thought it was possible, but it wasn’t quite yet. Our qualifying position hurts me for Sunday, but fortunately, we have another chance tomorrow. I don’t like making mistakes obviously, but there’s the big picture where we’re doing ok. I’ll put it behind me and learn from it because there’s a lot to be encouraged by.”

Yuki Tsunoda, 11th, 1:53.148

“The pace was pretty good, and I’m happy with the lap I put together. In the end, most of the cars were behind me, so they used the opportunity as the track was improving fairly quickly. The team called me in and put on the soft compound, which I didn’t expect to be quicker, but it worked. In the end, it was the right decision, so thanks to them. If you drive with the dry tyres on this track, and some corners flat out, it’s always a joy to drive here. It wasn’t quite flat out today, because the track was still drying, but it was still fun, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. The car was good and consistent, and I think the team gathered good knowledge about the car on the intermediate compound, which we struggled with three races ago, so we definitely made a huge step there. I was always feeling comfortable, and we were in good shape. Overall, I think it was a good day for the team; Daniel would’ve been through to Q2 if it wasn’t for track limits, so it’s encouraging for us.”

Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer

“A sprint weekend format in a heavily rain-affected Belgium GP weekend made for an interesting Friday of running. FP1 was a washout, with the rain intensity and conditions changing rapidly. We did some laps on the full wet compound, to gauge track condition, but with the rain intensity increasing, we had to abort. We finally got onto the intermediate tyre, but a Red Flag brought the session to a close before either driver completed a timed lap, so we had little data heading into qualifying. That said, we had enough to know that the intermediate compound looked like a fast tyre in most of the conditions we were likely to face.

"Rain before qualifying meant the session started for intermediate tyres, so we geared the run plans to have time available to go out for a single lap on a new set of intermediate tyres at the end, when we knew the track would be at its fastest. Both drivers’ lap times were very competitive, but in trying to go flat in Eau Rouge, Daniel slid slightly wide, and the lap was deleted for track limits. It was super unfortunate because it was clear he would've been competitive in the later sessions. Yuki made it through to Q2, and with the lap times close to the crossover between wet and dry tyres, we went with the intermediate compound and then decided to go for two consecutive push laps on dry tyres at the end of the session. Yuki set a very good lap time on the soft compound, but we didn't quite have the pace to make it through to Q3. We were one of the first to cross the line, so potentially we could've gone later and taken the track improvement, but then you always run the risk of catching a yellow or red flag. In any case, we're happy with the performance today and believe we have a good setup for Sunday, where we expect to have some dry running in the race.”

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SPA, BELGIUM - JULY 28: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT04 in the Pitlane during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on July 28, 2023 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Alpine

Alpine were in the headlines on Friday after announcing plenty of personnel changes to their management structure. But on track, they had a harder time of it. Ocon hit the barriers in Q2 and wiped off his front wing end-plate, running out of time to get back for a replacement. He then gained a place on the grid thanks to Kevin Magnussen's penalty. Gasly was the last driver on a hot lap in Q2 and had the opportunity to knock out his former team mate Verstappen – but just didn’t have the pace to make it to the top 10.

READ MORE: Alpine confirm Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer and Sporting Director Alan Permane to leave team after Belgian GP

Esteban Ocon, 15th, 1:56.372

"It’s not been an easy day on track today and I’m disappointed not to get into Q3. The weather conditions made the session tricky for everyone and but we did a good job to get through to Q2. Unfortunately, I hit the wall at Turn 9, which damaged the car and we were not able to have a second push lap on Soft tyres when the track was at its best. Tomorrow, we have a chance to get points with the Sprint Race, so we’ll certainly target a good result. For Sunday, it’s going to be tough from fifteenth on the grid but we’ll give our all.”

Pierre Gasly, 12th, 1:53.671

“It’s always challenging in wet to dry conditions with things changing lap after lap. It is exciting like this as you have to be on it straight away without overstepping the mark. We probably didn’t start our final push lap in Q2 under the best conditions but, even so, we didn’t have the car set-up for these kind of conditions and that is shown in our lap-time. Sector 1 was quite strong for us, whereas the longer, tighter, Sector 2 is where we struggled. This might be a positive by Sunday for the race, though, where we’ll be aiming to fight our way towards the points.”

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SPA, BELGIUM - JULY 28: 12th placed qualifier Pierre Gasly of France and Alpine F1 looks on in the FIA garage during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on July 28, 2023 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Alfa Romeo

Zhou had a moment in FP1, skating off after aquaplaning and clipping the barriers lightly before managing to return to the track. Once into qualifying, the Chinese driver didn’t have much more luck, running wide once again and exiting at the first time of asking. As for Bottas, he was the first driver to bolt on the slicks in Q2. Brave, but foolhardy, as it left him with no rubber when the track had fully evolved at the end of the session. He gained a place thanks to Kevin Magnussen's grid drop.

Valtteri Bottas, 14th, 1:54.694

"It’s been quite tricky today: we got limited track time during the only free practice session due to the heavy rain; then, during qualifying, the grip felt different in every lap and in different sectors, so it was really important to read the conditions properly and make the right tyre choices. We were the first ones to put on the slicks at the end of Q2, but unfortunately the timing didn’t work out for us: we crossed the line first, while the track was drying up, and then everyone else subsequently improved. Of course, it has been disappointing, but as a positive we had decent pace, which gives us an encouragement ahead of tomorrow’s Shootout and Sprint Race."

Zhou Guanyu, 17th, 2:00.832

"It was a shame to miss out on Q2, especially as my final lap had started really well: I was already half a second up during the first sector, and I think we could have easily made it into Q2, but that was not to be today. As one positive, our car felt alright under changeable conditions, the feeling was good, and it allowed us to be in the mix. Of course, it hasn’t been an ideal start to our weekend, as we got just a handful of laps in during free practice. Still, I am convinced we will be able to have a smoother day tomorrow, even if the weather remains the same, so I am looking forward to it."

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative

"Our aim today was to bring both cars into Q2, and we only partially achieved that. It was unfortunate for Zhou to be out at the end of Q1; he did a good first sector during his final push lap, but then, a lock-up in turn five took away his chances to be in the top fifteen. His pace was good, so he could have easily achieved Q2 as well. Valtteri did a good job in qualifying, he was quite strong in Q1 and had a shot at making it into the top ten: we made a good call with the switch to slicks but timing didn’t work out for us, and with Valtteri the first to complete the final push lap, he was at a disadvantage compared to the other drivers as the track kept improving. Nevertheless, we are confident we have a chance of playing our cards with both cars during the race; we are aware, of course, that it won’t be easy in these conditions, but we have seen today how it was possible to achieve something more."

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SPA, BELGIUM - JULY 28: Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Alfa Romeo F1 C43 Ferrari on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on July 28, 2023 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Haas

It was an eventful qualifying for Haas, with Hulkenberg stuck in the pits for a chunk of Q1 with a hydraulics issue. The team managed to get him out, but not in time to start a quick lap so he exited in Q1 to end a pretty successful run of qualifying finishes. As for Magnussen, he did make Q2 but much like Ocon, ran wide and collided with the wall. In bouncing back onto the track, he also caused Leclerc to have to take avoiding action, which the stewards had a little look at and subsequently gave him a three-place grid penalty.

Nico Hulkenberg, 20th, 2:03.166

"We had a hydraulic issue on the car which happened during the first run, and we tried to fix it but couldn’t get around again to set another lap time. At the end of the session, the track was drying and getting quicker so that means we were left in P20."

Kevin Magnussen, 13th, 1:54.160

"I went off at Turn 9 and hit the wall, damaging the car and then I completed my fastest lap after that, but I had a fair bit of damage on the car. I feel like there was maybe some more in it, but I think everyone feels like that in those conditions, there’s always something you leave out there in terms of lap time. P13 for Sunday, I think that’s okay and we’ll take it from there. Rainy conditions are where you can make it or break it, there’s everything to play for and that’s what we like. It could very well be similar conditions tomorrow for the Sprint, the weather here in Spa is always interesting, so let’s see what happens."

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal

"It was a messy day today. A difficult FP1 with rain coming and going, we weren’t really able to learn a lot. In qualifying, Nico had a hydraulic problem which cut his qualifying short, and Kevin on his best opportunity went off at Turn 9, then obviously the second time around, his tires were not in the best state anymore. Not the best of our qualifying efforts but this weekend has two opportunities to get points, so we try again tomorrow to do a better job than today."

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SPA, BELGIUM - JULY 28: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany driving the (27) Haas F1 VF-23 Ferrari on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on July 28, 2023 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Williams

Sargeant had the biggest moment of the drenched opening practice session, as he aquaplaned off after complaining that his wheels wouldn’t turn. It looked like a brake-by-wire issue had scuppered the American, who did hit the barriers but fortunately not very hard. In the end the team opted for a precautionary gearbox change, and he did manage to get out for some of Q1 before exiting. His team mate joined him on the side lines, Albon running very wide on his final lap and aborting as a result but later gained a place to 15th courtesy of Magnussen's grid drop.

READ MORE: Williams announce Pat Fry as new Chief Technical Officer

Logan Sargeant, 18th, 2:01.535

"A disappointing day for sure, knowing our potential coming here. I think in this condition we always struggle a bit when the track is drying. Being delayed compromised my session but still a big thank you to the team for putting in a great effort to get us out there. It’s a tough one, having a second set of tyres would’ve put us in a much better position. Having to do my best lap on the third lap of the tyre in drying conditions is never good. Confidence was there, it was simply lack of grip. We had good potential, but it’s not been the cleanest day. We’ll turn it around and see what we can do tomorrow."

Alex Albon, 16th, 2:00.314

"It was a tough one today. I don’t think we have the downforce for this kind of weather and were just sliding a lot, which overheats the tyres quickly and makes finishing a lap without the tyres going off a struggle. It wasn’t our day today; we’d prefer it to be fully wet or fully dry, as these mixed conditions make it tricky for us. We know our issues, it’s just not obvious how to fix them. We should be okay if the conditions are dry or fully wet but today was tricky and I normally like these conditions."

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance

"Inevitably in Spa, the day was dominated by the weather and conditions were quite different in FP1 and Q1. In FP1 the track remained very wet and the car was behaving well in those conditions on the intermediate tyre. Both drivers lost front grip when braking for T5 in the wettest conditions and this unfortunately led to some damage on Logan’s car, which delayed his appearance in Q1.

"In qualifying, the track dried incredibly quickly and although we were right to stop for a 2nd set of tyres with Alex, the run plan and tyre state didn’t quite suit the improving track. Logan drove well especially considering that he only had time for a single run and had to adapt to the conditions very quickly. It is frustrating not to have qualified for Q2 as we could have done well as the track became ready for the slicks. Nonetheless, there is still a lot of the weekend yet to come and there are opportunities, both tomorrow and on Sunday, to improve our position."

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SPA, BELGIUM - JULY 28: Logan Sargeant of United States and Williams walks from his car after stopping on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on July 28, 2023 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Pirelli

Simone Berra – Chief Engineer

"It was an interesting day and useful to understand the behaviour of the two types of wet weather tyre, while it was impossible to gather any data as far as dry tyres for the race were concerned, given that slicks were only used in qualifying. The most used tyre was the intermediate, which behaved well, both when there was a lot of water on track, as was the case in free practice and Q1, and when the track was drying quickly, as in Q2. It was also possible to get a sufficiently accurate idea of the crossover time from intermediates to slicks (around 110%), while that between the extreme wets and the intermediates is much harder to assess, given that they were used in the first part of free practice when teams and drivers were having to get an understanding of the track conditions. From what we could see, we can say that the Extreme Wet, which remember, since this year’s Monaco Grand Prix, are not pre-heated, responded well in terms of warm-up, even with the relatively low temperatures of around 20 °C for both air and track. The Soft also immediately provided good grip in qualifying, even though the track was clearly not in optimal condition.

"Tomorrow’s forecast is definitely not encouraging, in terms of rain which could have a significant impact on the Sprint format, while for Sunday it seems the conditions should improve. Whatever happens, it looks like we can expect two days of surprises and excitement."

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