Red at the end: Ferrari in Belgium at Williams level

Beaten almost from the entire field: For Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari, the starting training in Belgium becomes a debacle.

On the high-speed track of Spa, the full extent of the failure was clear to Ferrari. Where the formula-1-bolts run for miles through the forest with full throttle, The Scuderia was no longer just a middle-class team – Sebastian Vettel was hopeless in the red car and even slipped at the end of the field. Belgium’s Grand Prix on Sunday (15:10 o’clock/RTL) threatens to become the debacle for the proud racing stable.

While at the top there was still no clear picture for the weekend, For Vettel Platz 17 in free training was undoubtedly a low point of this season. And once again it became clear that it is not only Vettel’s crisis: although his teammate Charles Leclerc was on the move a little faster, However, the Monegasse did not go beyond position 15.

Thus, the worst fears of the Reds for Belgium seem to be realized: On the seven kilometres long route, the pilots are about 70% of the round on the gas, And Ferrari’s deficits are exposed.

Even 2018 and 2019 Vettel and Leclerc had won the Grand Prix of Belgium, especially last year Leclerc benefited from a suddenly impressive engine power. Weeks later, there were accusations of fraud, Ferrari rebuilt the engine in the short term and is now only going after it.

Ferrari in formula 1 is currently simply not competitive”

“It will be much more difficult than last year,”Leclerc had already pointed out before the weekend, “We’re just not as competitive as 2019.” How bad it would look on Friday, he had no idea.

Especially Vettel has been struggling with the heavy-duty car for weeks now, in training he was now slumped again, got off the track, and Ferrari was beaten at the end by McLaren, Racing Point and Renault, one has become accustomed to this by now.

Now AlphaTauri and even their own customer team Alfa Romeo landed in front of the Scuderia. Slower than Vettel was the only Williams pilot Nicholas Latifi on Friday. And the other customer team Haas, but it could hardly get on the track because of problems with the Ferrari engine.

There was surprisingly no Mercedes at the front all on Friday afternoon. Red-Bull-Star Max Verstappen, the only challenger of the silver arrows so far this season, turned the fastest round of the day. The second was Daniel Ricciardo in the Renault. It was only shortly after that that that World Champion Lewis Hamilton joined the Mercedes.

Since 2017, the Dominators of the past years at the Spa have no longer won, “it feels like we have a score to settle with this line,” says Mercedes Motorsport Manager Toto Wolff. The World Champions are expected to find the necessary speed at the weekend. Before the seventh season race Hamilton (132 points) leads the World Cup classification sovereign before congestion (95) and Bottas (89).