Having 'won' the court room battle in Paris on Thursday, Ferrari proceeded to take the honours in the opening practice session for this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.

Although McLaren's Lewis Hamilton had headed the 90-minute session from around halfway, Kimi Raikkonen popped in a faster lap in the closing minutes to secure P1 for the Scuderia on a day when the red cars book-ended the timesheets.

Although not quite getting down to the sort of pace he showed in the three-day test at the Belgian circuit, Raikkonen's 1min 47.339secs effort was good enough to leave him half a second clear of Hamilton, with the other McLaren of Fernando Alonso third fastest, a further tenth adrift. Felipe Massa, meanwhile, failed to complete a timed lap, sliding off at the top of the circuit on his first flying effort and being resigned to 22nd and last on the timesheets.

The Brazilian's absence from the top four allowed Nick Heidfeld to push his BMW Sauber in behind Alonso, having sat second to Hamilton for much of the morning. The German headed countryman Nico Rosberg and team-mate Robert Kubica, with Alex Wurz receiving a confidence boost from seventh place. Jarno Trulli, Heikki Kovalainen - despite a spin at Les Combes - and Jenson Button completed the top ten.

Further back, Sebastian Vettel pushed the best of the Toro Rossos close to the two Red Bull Racing drivers, while Adrian Sutil gave Spyker a lift by lapping on a par with the two Super Aguris and just half a second from Rubens Barrichello's 'works' Honda. The German was also ahead of Tonio Liuzzi, who joined Massa on the casualty list after damaging the front left corner of his Toro Rosso against the barriers.

 

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