Williams lapped Spa-Francorchamps four seconds faster year-on-year, while of the 10 teams only Ferrari was unable to improve its times.
Williams struggled last season and was marooned at the back and while it is still among the final group of teams its FW43 is a more competitive force.
George Russell, having been a second off the nearest team last year, made it through to Q2, with his final time 4.080s faster than his Q1 effort from 2019.
Formula 1 teams have made year-on-year gains aerodynamically – with Williams equipped with an improved Mercedes power unit – while the tyres Pirelli has taken to Spa-Francorchamps are softer.
In 2019 Pirelli nominated the C3 as the Soft compound while this year its C4 is available.
However conversely Ferrari has struggled for pace at Spa-Francorchamps with its recalcitrant SF1000.
Ferrari romped to pole position with an advantage of seven-tenths in 2019, courtesy of Charles Leclerc, but it was only the seventh-fastest team on Saturday.
Leclerc’s Q2 effort – Ferrari’s quickest time of the weekend – was 0.477s slower than his pole time from last season.
The next ‘worst’ team year-on-year – Alfa Romeo – was 0.397s faster than its 2019 best. Fellow Ferrari-powered team, Haas, also made relatively minimal gains, lapping 0.900s faster.
AlphaTauri lapped 3.022s faster than its best 2019 time as Toro Rosso, which came in final practice, while McLaren, Racing Point, Renault and Mercedes were all over two seconds up on last year.
Red Bull was 1.912s better than its 2019 time, underlying the gains made by most teams, and the strife Ferrari has endured across one lap this season.
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