Sebastian Vettel set the pace in opening practice for the Belgian Grand Prix at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on Friday morning after edging out Red Bull's Max Verstappen by one-tenth of a second at the top of the timesheets.

After entering the summer break trailing Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton by 24 points at the top of the drivers' championship, Vettel made a strong start on the resumption of F1 activities at Spa on Friday as he led the way for Ferrari.

Singapore #1

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A fastest lap of 1m44.358s saw Vettel finish one-tenth of a second clear of Verstappen at the head of the timesheets, with the crowd favourite being left to settle for second place in the final classification.

Verstappen was left to fly the flag solo for Red Bull for much of the session as teammate Daniel Ricciardo was sidelined due to an engine issue, only emerging to complete a flying lap in the closing minutes of FP1. He still managed to put in a lap time quick enough for sixth in the final standings.

Hamilton took third place for Mercedes, three-tenths behind Vettel, with Kimi Raikkonen slotting into fourth place in the second Ferrari ahead of Valtteri Bottas in fifth place.

In the first official on-track action for the rebranded Racing Point Force India team, Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez both managed to finish inside the top 10, taking seventh and ninth place respectively. Nico Hulkenberg finished as the lead Renault in eighth, with teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. taking 10th place.

Fresh from being announced as a Red Bull driver for 2019, Pierre Gasly took P11 for Toro Rosso ahead of Haas' Romain Grosjean, with the Sauber duo of Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson following in 13th and 14th. Brendon Hartley finished the session in P15 for Toro Rosso ahead of Lance Stroll and Kevin Magnussen.

Lando Norris made his F1 race weekend debut for McLaren, finishing three seconds off Vettel's time in P18 as he stepped in for Fernando Alonso. Teammate Stoffel Vandoorne suffered a gearbox issue and a suspected leak, meaning he could only complete 13 laps, finishing last in the standings behind Williams' Sergey Sirotkin

 

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