Belgian Grand Prix: Valtteri Bottas fastest

Valtteri Bottas
Radio and text coverage of the Belgian Grand Prix is live on the BBC Sport website

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas headed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in first practice at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Bottas was 0.164 seconds quicker than Verstappen, whose title rival Lewis Hamilton was down in 18th after being blocked on his best lap.

Hamilton narrowly avoided a crash when Williams’ Nicholas Latifi forced him wide approaching the Bus Stop chicane.

Latifi appeared not to have seen the seven-time champion as Hamilton tracked him in the final part of the lap.

Hamilton, who is eight points clear of Verstappen in the championship, was on course to beat Bottas’ time but had to back out of his lap and did not try for another one.

Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen had a bizarre incident when he hit the wall in the pit lane.

The veteran Finn appeared to simply steer into the wall with his left-front wheel, which pitched the car into the wall on the other side with its right rear.

Raikkonen was able to return to his garage but did not get back onto the track after the incident.

Raikkonen had earlier had a spin out of the La Source hairpin, an incident mirrored a few moments later by Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda.

And Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc had a near miss when he ran wide at the Rivage right-hander at the highest point of the track. He bounced through the gravel but managed to keep the car out of the wall.

Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly was third fastest ahead of Leclerc and the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.

McLaren’s Lando Norris and the Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso completed the top 10.

The session started with the track dry but the pit lane wet after overnight rain, and the forecast is for showers throughout the weekend.

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