Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen continued where his teammate Sebastian Vettel left off by going fastest in the second practice for the Belgian Grand Prix. The Finn was a tenth faster than the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, who set the early pace while Valtteri Bottas third.
Hamilton led most of the pace on the slower Medium tyres before Raikkonen responded with a 43.3 on the softest compound. Hamilton was unable to respond when he switched to the supersoft, but remained four-tenths of a second faster. Raikkonen then lowered that to a tenth.
Hamilton’s title rival Vettel was fifth fastest, seven tenths off. However, the German made a number of mistakes on his qualifying runs on supersofts and was unable to match the top two. That also left him behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.
Both Vettel and Verstappen had set the pace during FP1 but were unable to find the pace from the morning to continue at the top. Mercedes and Ferrari are running upgraded power units this weekend, so tomorrows qualifying will give a better understanding of the true performance.
While Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was unable to shake off that difficult start to the weekend and had to settle for sixth, over a second off the pace. Force India’s Sergio Perez made a strong start for his ‘new’ team going seventh.
Force India was brought by a consortium over the summer break, the Mexican ensured a strong start being one of three drivers to set a time on the supersofts. Perez’s time was over a second off the overall pace, however, he was eight tenths faster than Renaults Carlos Sainz.
Sauber appears to be continuing the strong performances they showed in the first half of the season, with Marcus Ericsson ninth and Charles Leclerc tenth. Nico Hulkenberg was eleventh fastest, but did not use the new-specification floor he ran in FP1 – as the part was given to Sainz for this session.
Haas’s Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were twelfth and fourteenth fastest. Split by the second Force India of Esteban Ocon – who only completed one lap on his first set of tyres thanks to a left-rear puncture. While Pierre Gasly was fifteenth.
Fernando Alonso returned to the cockpit for the first time since announcing his retirement, the McLaren driver set his fastest time just before thirty minutes remaining going sixteenth fastest.
Brendon Hartley, in the second Toro Rosso, was seventeenth ahead of Williams pairing Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll. While Stoffel Vandoorne struggled with his car, describing it as “undriveable”, he had to settle for twentieth two tenths off Stroll.