Lewis Hamilton edges out Ferrari in FP2 in Belgium despite heavy rain hitting the session

25 August 2017

In the second practice session at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit today, Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas in a session that saw the drivers perfecting their set ups and seeing where they need to improve before FP3 and Qualifying on Saturday despite the heavy rain that affected the session.

The initial flurry of lap times during the session settled briefly with championship leader Sebastian Vettel going quickest just after 10 minutes gone into the session. Valtteri Bottas briefly moved had an attempt to beat Vettel’s time on the same rubber 10 minutes later, but a lock-up at the La Source hairpin at the start of his lap meant that was always beatable.

But Bottas’ team mate Hamilton then set a 1m45.634s on softs and that remained the benchmark until the qualifying simulations just after the half-hour mark. Vettel was first of the frontrunners to bolt on ultra-softs and he jumped to first place on a 1m45.235s, which Bottas quickly beat with a 1m45.180s.

In the first half of the session, Daniel Ricciardo was suffering with a problem with the car that briefly limited his running but was able to come back out running in the second half of the session.

The teams switched to long runs and managed a few laps before light rain started to fall with 25 minutes remaining and within five minutes every driver was back in the pits as the rain got even heavier.

There was only Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso who were the only two to head out for exploration runs. But both drivers bizarrely chose intermediate tyres – and tip-toed back to the pits immediately in conditions that even full wets would have been insufficient for.

There was more disappointing form for Haas F1 drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen after having started the session with almost simultaneous DRS failures. But then Magnussen was later involved in an odd incident with Sergio Perez, angering him by getting in his way at the Turn 9 left-hander and then weaving in front of him on the run downhill to Pouhon.

The only driver not to set a time was Felipe Massa, who failed to take part after his practice one crash resulted in chassis change.

But it was Lewis Hamilton who was fastest with a lap time of 1:44.753 ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in second place who was 0.262 seconds behind him and ahead of Valtteri Bottas in third place who was 0.427 seconds behind Hamilton.

Max Verstappen finished the session in fourth place ahead of Sebastian Vettel in fifth place, Daniel Ricciardo in sixth place, Nico Hulkenberg in seventh place, Esteban Ocon in eighth place, Carlos Sainz Jr in ninth place and Jolyon Palmer who rounded off the top ten finishers.

Fernando Alonso ended the session in eleventh place ahead of Sergio Perez in twelfth place, Romain Grosjean in thirteenth place, Stoffel Vandoorne in fourteenth place and Daniil Kvyat in fifteenth place.

As we head into the latter stages of the grid, Kevin Magnussen ended the session in sixteenth place ahead of Lance Stroll in seventeenth place, Marcus Ericsson in eighteenth place and Pascal Wehrlein in nineteenth place. Felipe Massa did not take part in the session.

The classification of FP2 for the Belgian GP is as follows:-

1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1.44.753
2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 0.262s
3. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 0.427s
4. Max Verstappen, Red-Bull-TAG Heuer, 0.472s
5. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 0.482s
6. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull-TAG Heuer, 1.319s
7. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1.688s
8. Esteban Ocon, Force India-Mercedes, 1.720s
9. Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso, 1.808s
10. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 1.917s
11. Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Honda, 1.990s
12. Sergio Perez, Force India-Mercedes, 2.231s
13. Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, 2.532s
14. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren-Honda, 2.550s
15. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 2.697s
16. Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, 2.803s
17. Lance Stroll, Williams-Mercedes, 3.108s
18. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber-Ferrari, 4.461s
19. Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber-Ferrari, 4.972s
20. Felipe Massa, Williams-Mercedes, No Time Set

Driving for Pleasure will be covering the Belgium GP weekend with our practice, qualifying and race reports alongside the latest news.

Sarah Jones- @jonesy_laaa