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Belgian GP: Leclerc outpaces Vettel by 0.6s in FP2

Belgian GP: Leclerc outpaces Vettel by 0.6s in FP2

Charles Leclerc headed a Ferrari one-two in the second Formula 1 free practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix, comfortably ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Leclerc hit the front in the early running when the majority of runners concentrated on using the medium-compound Pirellis, with Red Bull driver Max Verstappen only 0.017s slower.

Vettel was the first of the frontrunners to set a time on his performance run on softs, moving to the front with a time of 1m44.753s.

Leclerc then responded by setting a time 0.630s quicker than Vettel to reclaim top spot, with Vettel's attempt to hit back with a second push lap resulting in a slow first sector and no chance of improving.

Mercedes pairing Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton proved to be the closest challengers to Ferrari, ending up third and fourth respectively with just 0.046s separating them.

As expected, Mercedes set the pace in the twistier middle sector of the Spa Francorchamps circuit, but lost out to Ferrari in the power-dependent first and third sector despite running new and upgraded engines.

This left Bottas 0.846s off Leclerc's pace, with his advantage over Hamilton established thanks to the reigning world champion not matching his earlier pace in the final sector.

Racing Point driver Sergio Perez was a surprise fifth, with the car performing strongly in the first and third sectors and ending up as the last runner within a second of the pace.

Perez's session came to a firey end with five minutes remaining when he pulled off the track with an engine-related problem with his new and upgraded Mercedes.

Perez's failure led to the virtual safety car being activated, with the session subsequently being red flagged never to resume.

Verstappen attempted two push laps on his softs but could not improve on the first, which was compromised by poor first and final sectors and included a lockup into the final chicane.

Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen pipped Racing Point's Lance Stroll to eighth, with Daniel Ricciardo the lead Renault runner in ninth pace.

Red Bull newcomer Alex Albon was 10th fastest, with his fastest lap compromised by a lock-up into La Source – leaving him just under four tenths off Verstappen.

McLaren driver Carlos Sainz was 11th ahead of Romain Grosjean, who was briefly as high as sixth thanks to completing his quick lap early on.

He made a second attempt, but ran wide at the left-hander before Pouhon and aborted his lap.

Outgoing Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg was 13th ahead of Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat, with Lando Norris 15th – the trio separated by just 0.049s.

Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi was 10th fastest on medium rubber but slipped down to 16th on softs.

Pierre Gasly was 17th on his Toro Rosso return, lapping 0.160s off Kvyat and at one stage complaining that he was hearing communications from outside the team over the radio.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was 18th having abandoned his first attempt on softs and having to go again, ending up 2.276s off the pace.

George Russell won the intra-Williams battle at the back, lapping 0.444s quicker than Robert Kubica.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 28 1'44.123
2 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari 30 1'44.753 0.630
3 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 28 1'44.969 0.846
4 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 26 1'45.015 0.892
5 Mexico Sergio Perez
Racing Point 25 1'45.117 0.994
6 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 20 1'45.394 1.271
7 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 25 1'45.708 1.585
8 Canada Lance Stroll
Racing Point 21 1'45.732 1.609
9 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
Renault 26 1'45.735 1.612
10 Thailand Alex Albon
Red Bull 21 1'45.771 1.648
11 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
McLaren 28 1'45.999 1.876
12 France Romain Grosjean
Haas 21 1'46.120 1.997
13 Germany Nico Hulkenberg
Renault 26 1'46.209 2.086
14 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat
Toro Rosso 24 1'46.214 2.091
15 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 29 1'46.258 2.135
16 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 24 1'46.328 2.205
17 France Pierre Gasly
Toro Rosso 28 1'46.374 2.251
18 Denmark Kevin Magnussen
Haas 21 1'46.399 2.276
19 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 30 1'47.887 3.764
20 Poland Robert Kubica
Williams 32 1'48.331 4.208
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Belgian GP
Author Edd Straw