Red Bull’s Max Verstappen led the second practice session of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, ending up a narrow 0.041s ahead of the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, who himself was just 0.031s up on team mate Lewis Hamilton. But the session would end horribly for Verstappen, after he backed his Red Bull RB16B into the wall at Malmedy, prematurely calling time on FP2.
In what was a dry FP2 session, Verstappen’s soft-shod qualifying run yielded the fastest lap of the weekend so far, as he logged a 1m 44.472s – a time good enough to put him just ahead of Bottas, who’d led Free Practice 1 this morning.
But with just a handful of minutes to go, Verstappen rotated the car at Malmedy and backed it into the wall, bringing out a red flag as the session was ended early – with Red Bull now facing a tense wait to see how much damage has been done to the RB16B.
Verstappen became the second driver to crash at the corner in the session, meanwhile, with Charles Leclerc ending up 18th after also coming a cropper at Malmedy with 20 minutes to go, bringing out the first red flag of the session.
FORMULA 1 ROLEX BELGIAN GRAND PRIX 2021
Practice 2 results
|1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing||1:44.472|
|2 Valtteri BOTTAS Mercedes||+0.041s|
|3 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes||+0.072s|
|4 Fernando ALONSO Alpine||+0.481s|
|5 Pierre GASLY AlphaTauri||+0.493s|
Away from that drama, and although Mercedes lagged slightly behind Verstappen on the timesheets, both drivers set their fastest laps on the medium tyres, leaving a suspicion that they may have been running a lower power setting for their qualifying simulation runs on the softs.
Fresh from Alpine’s maiden win last time out, and having re-signed with the team for 2022, Fernando Alonso wound up P4 in the session, an impressive 0.440s off Verstappen’s time, with the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly just 0.012s further back, the Frenchman following up on his P3 from the morning session.
Lance Stroll led a double top 10 appearance for Aston Martin in FP2 in P6, ahead of Hungary winner Esteban Ocon (who overcame a wild spin at the exit of Turn 13) and the second Aston of Sebastian Vettel, as McLaren’s Lando Norris took P9 ahead of the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez – who, it was announced over the lunch break, would remain with the team for 2022.
Carlos Sainz was Ferrari’s leading driver in P11 ahead of the AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda, around eight-tenths off his team mate Gasly.