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Max Verstappen sets the pace

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen topped the practice timesheets for the Belgian Grand Prix on Friday, ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

The Dutchman, third fastest in the first of Friday’s two 90-minute sessions, vaulted to the top in the afternoon with a time of one minute, 43.744 seconds.

That put him a mere 0.048 seconds clear of Ricciardo with Hamilton also hot on his heels just 0.096 seconds behind.

“It’s very close out there,” said Hamilton, who completed a Mercedes one-two behind teammate and birthday boy Valtteri Bottas in the morning. “I think the Red Bulls are just a little bit quicker at the moment but even Racing Point is right with us…”

Hamilton, who has won four of this season’s six races, is 37 points clear of Verstappen at the top.

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