Quebec's Lance Stroll and his Racing Point team showed an excellent pace on Friday in the first two free practice sessions of the Belgian Grand Prix that were dominated by Ferrari.
Stroll clocked the fastest eighth fastest time of the second session in 1: 45.732. His Mexican teammate Sergio Perez did even better, finishing fifth in a time of 1: 45.117.
Stroll is also part of a group of six drivers who will be penalized on the grid for an unauthorized change to any of the powertrain components. Perez could be added to this number, since a fire occurred in the back of his car at the end of the second session.
Despite everything, Stroll is very optimistic for the future.
"It's one of our best Friday of the season, so it's promising," he said in a statement. We have done good stints and the pace of the car seems good, and we expected it here at Spa. "
"It's a shame to have a penalty for the engine. We will do our best in qualifying, but our focus will be on the best riders for the race on Sunday, to get as many cars as possible and score!
Stroll was also one of the leaders of the first practice session, when his bonnet flew into the straight Kemmel. This misadventure did not prevent him from achieving the seventh lap of the session, in 1: 46.198.
Latifi on the track
Charles Leclerc, on Ferrari, meanwhile managed the fastest time of the day, in 1: 44,123. Teammate Sebastian Vettel (1: 44.753) followed him. The Monegasque needed 846 thousandths of a second less than the driver of Mercedes Valtteri Bottas (1: 44.969) to cover the circuit of Spa-Francorchamps.
Vettel and Leclerc, in that order, had also dominated the first session.
Canadian Nicholas Latifi also took part in this initial session. He finished 19th (1: 48.784) in a Williams car, ahead of Robert Kubica, also at Williams.
Latifi is currently second in the Formula 2 standings behind Nyck De Vries. It will try to reduce the lead of 30 points of his rival this weekend, with two races on schedule. He will have plenty to do, however, as he will start from 11th on the grid in the first race, while De Vries will be in the lead position.