Hamilton finishes Friday fastest in rain-curtailed FP2

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, during practice for the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix
© XPB 

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton was the fastest man on track at Spa-Francorchamps on Friday, in a rain-hit second practice for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Hamilton's best time of 1:44.753s was hot on the heels on the all-time best lap of 1:44.503s at Spa, set by Jarno Trulli during qualifying in 2009. He was 0.262s faster than Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton's team mate Valtteri Bottas was third fastest, narrowly pipping Red Bull's Max Verstappen. Sebastian Vettel was fifth fastest in the second Ferrari.

Renault's Jolyon Palmer had been the first man on the timing screens with a lap of 1:48.846s. That was quickly bettered by Raikkonen, the Ferrari driver picking up where he'd left off in the morning session.

There was an early spat between Haas' Kevin Magnussen and Force India's Sergio Perez. Magnussen appeared to cut across Perez, earning a rebuke from the Mexican driver who called the Dane "so dirty, always" over the team radio.

Verstappen and Vettel briefly went top before the two Mercedes drivers took charge. Hamilton's initial lap of 1:45.634s on softs put him almost seven tenths faster than Bottas on supersofts.

Once he moved to ultrasoft compounds, Hamilton cut nearly a full second off his time to record the fastest lap of the day. It allowed him stay ahead of improved efforts from Raikkonen, Bottas, Verstappen and Vettel before teams turned their attention to long distance runs.

There was some mid-session wheel-to-wheel action between Magnussen's team mate Romain Grosjean and Renault's Nico Hulkenberg through the Bus Stop. Meanwhile Fernando Alonso's audacious trajectory through the apex of Eau Rouge raised eyebrows in terms of respecting track limits.

With half an hour remaining in the 90-minute session, raindrops started to make their presence felt in parts of the 4.352-mile circuit. The track turned increasingly slippery, and teams eventually recalled their drivers even before more serious precipitation commenced. It meant a subdued end to the session, with the chequered flag eventually shown to a now empty and thoroughly soaked track.

Earlier in the session there had been minor problems with the DRS on both Haas cars, while Daniil Kvyat reported power fluctuations on his Toro Rosso during his initial runs. Team mate Carlos Sainz had similar power issues mid-session, while Kvyat himself later reported his race seat getting uncomfortably hot.

Daniel Ricciardo's initial runs were slower than expected, earning him a recall to the Red Bull pits to sort out "a little bit of an issue" on the RB13. As a result of time lost in the garage, he was one of the last drivers to set a qualifying lap on ultras. He ended the session sixth fastest ahead of Hulkenberg and Force India's Esteban Ocon. Sainz and Palmer rounded out the top ten.

Felipe Massa had to sit out the session after his morning accident forced the team to change his FW40's survival cell. It will be scrutineered overnight before Saturday morning's final practice.

Belgian Grand Prix - Free Practice 2 results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:44.753s 17
2 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:45.015s + 0.262s 21
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:45.180s + 0.427s 17
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:45.225s + 0.472s 16
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:45.235s + 0.482s 20
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:46.072s + 1.319s 15
7 Nico Hülkenberg Renault 1:46.441s + 1.688s 24
8 Esteban Ocon Force India 1:46.473s + 1.720s 19
9 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:46.561s + 1.808s 19
10 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:46.670s + 1.917s 23
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:46.743s + 1.990s 20
12 Sergio Pérez Force India 1:46.984s + 2.231s 18
13 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:47.285s + 2.532s 15
14 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:47.303s + 2.550s 17
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:47.450s + 2.697s 12
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:47.556s + 2.803s 15
17 Lance Stroll Williams 1:47.861s + 3.108s 13
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:49.214s + 4.461s 12
19 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 1:49.725s + 4.972s 18
20 Felipe Massa Williams 0

 

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