01 Oct 2022

Charles Leclerc in a spin as Sergio Perez sets the pace in Belgium

Charles Leclerc in a spin as Sergio Perez sets the pace in Belgium

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc spun in final practice for the Belgian Grand Prix as Sergio Perez posted the fastest time.

World champion Max Verstappen, who will be relegated towards the back of the field for Sunday’s race for taking on a new engine, finished behind his Red Bull team-mate. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was third, and Lando Norris fourth for McLaren.

Leclerc, who is also set to be thrown down the starting grid after exceeding his number of allocated engine parts, thudded the wall with 10 minutes remaining.

The Monegasque lost control of his Ferrari on the entry to Turn 12 before sliding into the gravel, and the right-rear of his Ferrari making contact with the tyre barrier.

Leclerc, whose championship challenge has been hindered following mistakes by man and machine, was able to limp out of the sand trap without sustaining major injury to his car.

“I am back out, [and] I don’t think the car is damaged,” he reported before limping back to the garage.

The session was suspended for five minutes following Leclerc’s crash, with Perez pipping Verstappen in the closing stages to take top spot.

Perez ended the one-hour running at an overcast Spa-Francorchamps 0.137 seconds ahead of Verstappen.

Sainz finished almost eight tenths off the pace, and Norris the only other driver within a second of Perez.

With Verstappen and Leclerc serving grid penalties, Lewis Hamilton might have hoped to profit from his rivals’ plight.

But Mercedes appear to be struggling for pace here in the Ardennes, with George Russell sixth, one second back, and Hamilton a distant 12th. Qualifying starts at 4pm local time (3pm UK).

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