Canadian and current F2 driver Nicholas Latifi stepped in at Williams for George Russell in FP1. It’s one of his scheduled practice appearances in 2019.
Lewis Hamilton had problems in the early session as he reported a loss of power and was cruising around the track. However, the power seemed to return and the Brit made it back to the pits. Mercedes diagnosed a throttle pedal problem and fixed it.
Robert Kubica and Daniil Kvyat both spun on the exit of La Source as the drivers struggled for grip in the early stages.
A VSC was deployed just after the half-hour mark as part of Lance Stroll’s engine cover fell off and left a lot of debris on the circuit on the Kemmel straight.
Max Verstappen led the field before the teams had to hand back a set of tyres back at the 40-minute mark. The Dutchman’s 1:45.803 put him 0.9s clear of former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. His new stablemate Alexander Albon followed in P3.
Bottas, Leclerc, Hulkenberg, Vettel, Sainz, Stroll and Perez completed the top 10 at that point of the session.
On the second runs, Ferrari took over at the top of the charts.
Sebastian Vettel’s 1:44.574 on the soft compound was the fastest time of the session. The German finished 0.214s ahead of Charles Leclerc. Verstappen and Albon followed in the Red Bulls. Albon was less than a tenth behind the Dutchman in his first session for Red Bull.
Bottas and Hamilton finished 5th and 6th as both Mercedes drivers ran on the slower mediums vs softs for the Ferraris and Red Bulls. Stroll, Ricciardo, Perez and Sainz rounded out the top 10.
Hulkenberg, Norris, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Giovinazzi, Magnussen, Kvyat, Gasly, Latifi and Kubica filled positions 11-20.