Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen set the fastest time of the second free practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix, edging Drivers’ Championship leader Lewis Hamilton by 0.168s.
In the early part of the session Hamilton led the way on medium-compound Pirelli tyres and the Briton headed the timesheet with a time of 1:44.369. That left him just three thousandths of a second clear of Räikkönen, who ran on soft tyres during the opening phase of the 90 minutes,
Räikkönen was the first of the frontrunners to move to supersoft tyres for a qualifying simulation, just after the half-hour mark and he immediately moved to top of the order with a lap of 1:43.555.
Mercedes Valtteri Bottas then slotted into second with his qual sim, but he was swiftly demoted by team-mate Hamilton who moved into P2 behing Räikkönen with a time of 1:43.523.
Fourth place in the session went to Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, with the Dutch driver finishing 0.691 off the pace.
He was followed by Sebastian Vettel in the second Ferrari. The German might have finished higher up the timesheet but he was forced to abandon his push lap on supersofts when he made a mistake at Turn 14. The championship contended improved over the course of further quick to eventually set a best time of 1:44.046, which left him 0.083s adrift of Verstappen and 0.121s clear of seventh-placed Daniel Ricciardo who recovered from engine issues in the opening session to post a best time of 1:44.250.
The ‘new’ Racing Point Force India team, which had seen drivers Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez finish seventh and ninth in the opening session, continued its good start to the weekend in afternoon practice, with Perez this time taking seventh spot. Ocon, though, slipped to P13.
Mercedes-powered Perez set a best time of 1:44.662 and that was good enough to give him an eight tenths of a second advantage over the man in P8, Renault’s Carlos Sainz. Ninth and tenth places in the session went to the Sauber duo of Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc.
2018 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 29 1:43.355 243.959
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 28 1:43.523 0.168
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 29 1:43.803 0.448
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 25 1:44.046 0.691
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 31 1:44.129 0.774
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 31 1:44.250 0.895
7 Sergio Perez Racing Point Force India 27 1:44.662 1.307
8 Carlos Sainz Renault 29 1:45.481 2.126 0
9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 24 1:45.537 2.182
10 Charles Leclerc Sauber 25 1:45.622 2.267
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 28 1:45.753 2.398
12 Romain Grosjean Haas 29 1:45.817 2.462
13 Esteban Ocon Racing Point Force India 24 1:45.935 2.580
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas 29 1:46.078 2.723
15 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 33 1:46.080 2.725
16 Fernando Alonso McLaren 28 1:46.153 2.798
17 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 35 1:46.337 2.982
18 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 35 1:46.451 3.096
19 Lance Stroll Williams 34 1:46.470 3.115
20 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 25 1:46.496 3.141