Friday’s second practice session at the Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix threw up something of a surprise result, with Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen edging Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo to top spot on the timesheets. The former teammates were split by just 0.048 seconds, just ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
Verstappen’s best time of 1:43.744 around the seven-kilometre Spa-Francorchamps circuit was impressive, but more so was the performance of Ricciardo which propelled the Australian second-fastest in a remarkable turn of pace.
Any joy he might have experienced was tempered, however, by being forced to park his Renault after it lost hydraulic pressure in the latter stages of the session. This triggered a brief Virtual Safety Car, while later on a dislodged advertising panel caused a brief red flag with ten minutes of the session to run.
Hamilton wound up third-fastest, less than one-tenth of a second slower than Verstappen, whom he arguably would have outpaced were it not for the six-time World Champion having made a small error at the Bus Stop chicane on his quickest lap.
Verstappen’s teammate Alexander Albon was once again shaded by the Dutchman to the tune of four-tenths of a second, although it was still a solid effort by the Anglo-Thai driver to go fourth-fastest at the circuit where he’d made a superb debut for the team a year ago.
Albon was a mere three-thousandths of a second fastest than Sergio Pérez’s Racing Point Mercedes in fifth, while FP1 pacesetter Valtteri Bottas was only sixth-fastest ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris who suffered a momentary power unit issue in his Renault-powered McLaren.
The top ten was completed by Renault’s Esteban Ocon, McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and the AlphaTauri Honda of Pierre Gasly.
A little further down the timesheets than expected was the second Racing Point of Lando Stroll, who posted his fastest time on the slower Medium compound tyres after an error on his Soft compound run. The Canadian finished ahead of the second AlphaTauri of Daniil Kvyat.
The Alfa Romeos were once again the quickest of the Ferrari-powered runners, with the customer team outpacing their factory counterparts. After not posting a time in FP1, Antonio Giovinazzi beat teammate Kimi Räikkönen, with the pair lapping just over a second off Verstappen’s pace.
It was another poor session for the factory Ferraris, who fared no better after a poor FP1 session saw them well down the order. Defending Belgian Grand Prix winner Charles Leclerc struggled to P15, two spots ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel who was almost two seconds off the ultimate pace. The Williams of George Russell assumed the rather odd position of splitting the two Ferraris, with teammate Nicholas Latifi in P18.
Bringing up the rear were the two Haas Ferraris of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen. After the pair was sidelined in FP1 by unrelated power unit issues, they eventually emerged on track with a little over half an hour to go to post some practice mileage and predictably occupied the last two places on the timesheets.
|FORMULA 1 ROLEX BELGIAN GRAND PRIX 2020 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 2|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RB16||1:43.744||21|
|2.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team R.S.20||1:43.792||+ 0.048||12|
|3.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team W11||1:43.840||+ 0.096||23|
|4.||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing RB16||1:44.134||+ 0.390||21|
|5.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP20||1:44.137||+ 0.393||23|
|6.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team W11||1:44.162||+ 0.418||27|
|7.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL35||1:44.168||+ 0.424||22|
|8.||Esteban Ocon||Renault F1 Team R.S.20||1:44.208||+ 0.464||23|
|9.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL35||1:44.474||+ 0.730||23|
|10.||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01||1:44.600||+ 0.856||27|
|11.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP20||1:44.678||+ 1.934||23|
|12.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01||1:44.826||+ 1.082||26|
|13.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C39||1:44.861||+ 1.117||29|
|14.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C39||1:44.896||+ 1.152||23|
|15.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF1000||1:45.440||+ 1.696||19|
|16.||George Russell||Williams Racing FW43||1:45.463||+ 1.719||25|
|17.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF1000||1:45.683||+ 1.939||21|
|18.||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Racing FW43||1:45.774||+ 2.030||26|
|19.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-20||1:45.834||+ 2.090||12|
|20.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-20||1:46.242||+ 2.498||12|
Image via Red Bull Content Pool
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