Williams F1
Belgian GP: Frustrating FP1 for Williams Martini
By Andrew Hooper
August 25 2017

The opening Friday practice session for the 2017 Belgian GP would be a frustrating one for the Williams Martini team. It would commence badly with Felipe Massa crashing his car before having even set a time. Such was the damage to his car that it was not looking very promising that he would be able to run in the second Friday session. For team-mate Lance Stroll his session would only have one moment when very late in the session he would complain on his radio that there was something moving in the cars peddle box. Apart from that Lance would focus on super soft tyre runs but would only manage fifteenth.
 
 Williams Martini Belgian GP Friday 1st Practice
 
Massa crash
 

Team Summary:
With several cars running the halo device the session would get underway with Vandoorne coming out first. The track was go empty as all the drivers completed their installation laps. Fifteen minutes into the session and Econ would set a 1m:48.962 but the session would be stopped when Felipe would crash at Le Combes going into the barrier. The session would be stopped as a result allowing the marshals to recover the damaged Williams. The session would restart with just over an hour remaining. There would be a rush of drivers coming out to make up for lost time. Raikkonen would go quickest with a 1m:47.902 followed by Perez and Ocon.

But Ricciardo would go quickest with a 1m:47.668 followed by Raikkonen and now Vettel. Times would continue to come down with Hamilton fastest with a 1m:47.410. Verstappen was now third with the Red Bull cars on the ultra soft tyre and Hamilton the super soft tyre. Ricciardo would improve to go quickest with a 1m:46.838 with Raikkonen second and Bottas now third. Verstappen was fourth followed by Hamilton and Vettel. Hamilton would return to the top of the times with a 1m:46.439. With thirty six minutes remaining the track was empty. Thirty minutes remaining and drivers were returning to the track.

Ricciardo would set a 1m:46.551 but would remain second. On the soft tyre Bottas would go quickest with a 1m:46.424. Hamilton was also out on the soft tyre but would fail to improve remaining second. Bottas would go off the track trying to keep out of the way of drivers behind. He was able to continue returning to his pit with some minor damage. Hamilton's next lap would see him go fastest with a 1m:45.555 with Ricciardo now second, 1m:46.352. Verstappen would move up to second with a 1m:46.302. Vettel was ninth but on a quicker lap and would set a 1m:45.647 but was on the ultra soft tyre. Of the top ten only Hamilton, Bottas, and Ocon were on the soft tyre. Verstappen would move ahead of Ricciardo to be fourth. Raikkonen would go quickest with a 1m:45.502 running on the ultra soft tyre.

With the end of the session the top ten was Raikkonen, Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Bottas, Sainz, Ocon, Kvyat, and Vandoorne tenth. For Williams lance would finish in fifteenth in a frustrating session what with Felipe's crash. Hopefully the team will be able to fix Felipe's car prior to the next session but it was not looking very promising.

Felipe Massa:
Prior to the start of Friday practice Felipe would be given the all clear to compete having recovered from his recent illness. Felipe would take to the track running on the super soft tyre. He would pit after a single installation lap. With fifteen minutes of the session completed Felipe would return to the track still on the super soft tyre. But for Felipe his session would end when he would go off the track at Le Combes after hitting the kerb going across the track and into the gravel and then the barrier. This would do extensive damage to the left of Felipe's car. Felipe would make a visit to the medical centre for a check-up. Felipe would report that he just lost the rear end of the car and that he was fine after the accident. Later in the session it was see that Williams mechanics would bring in a new chassis meaning a huge amount of work for the Williams team. The Williams team would confirm this saying it would be difficult to see Felipe make the second session.

Lance Stroll:
Lance would join his team-mate out on the track but was on the soft tyre. Lance would also only complete a single installation lap. Lance would also return for his first run this time on the super soft tyre. With the restart Lance would return to the track and his first timed lap would be a 1m:51.912 to be fourth. Lance would quickly drop to fourteenth but would improve with a 1m:50.738 to be thirteenth. He would drop to fifteenth having completed five laps. Lance would continue to improve setting a 1m:49.654 to be twelfth dropping to thirteenth. A further improvement from Lance would see him set a 1m:49.172 to be eleventh. Lance would pit after an eleven lap run.

Lance would return to the track in the last half hour running again on the super soft tyre and would improve with a 1m:48.931 but this was only good enough to see him sixteenth. A 1m:48.551 would see Lance now fourteenth dropping to fifteenth. Lance would complete a front wing change during his run as his session drew to a close. Lance would pit having come on his radio saying that something had broken in the peddle box and that was something was moving.

 
Stroll
 
Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m45.502s - 13
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m45.555s 0.053s 19
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m45.647s 0.145s 13
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m46.302s 0.800s 18
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m46.352s 0.850s 22
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m46.424s 0.922s 20
7 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault 1m47.446s 1.944s 22
8 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m47.670s 2.168s 27
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault 1m47.851s 2.349s 20
10 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Honda 1m47.865s 2.363s 18
11 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m47.930s 2.428s 14
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m48.037s 2.535s 15
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m48.252s 2.750s 18
14 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m48.452s 2.950s 19
15 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m48.541s 3.039s 24
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m48.615s 3.113s 20
17 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m48.626s 3.124s 20
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m50.160s 4.658s 21
19 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber/Ferrari 1m51.263s 5.761s 13
20 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes - - 3
 
Stroll