Belgian GP: Verstappen goes quickest, crashes in FP2

Max Verstappen led Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton in FP2 at Formula 1's 2021 Belgian Grand Prix, a session twice red-flagged due to incidents including a late crash for Verstappen.

As was the case in Friday's earlier FP1 session at Spa, FP2 got underway in damp conditions thanks to rain falling between the two one-hour practice sessions, although a there was a clear dry line already evident when Bottas led a small pack of runners out on intermediates when the pitlane opened.

Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen, Pierre Gasly, Sebastian Vettel and Lando Norris completed early installation laps on the inters before pitting to switch to slicks – led by McLaren driver Norris.

He duly set the session's first timed lap – a 1m48.219s – on the hard compound tyres, which Norris beat on the next tour of his run as he posted a 1m47.138s.

As the rest of the track dried quickly, the rest of the pack appeared straightaway on slicks and the times soon tumbled – with Esteban Ocon going fastest after 15 minutes had passed thanks to his 1m46.638s, also on the hard tyres.

That was soon beaten by Nicholas Latifi's 1m46.198s on the medium tyres, before the Williams driver was usurped by Bottas putting in a 1m44.513s – the Mercedes also running the yellow-walled rubber.

Verstappen slotted in behind Bottas before he was pipped by Hamilton, who ended up just 0.031s behind his teammate at this stage, with the world champion now running a much smaller rear wing compared to the set-up he used in FP1.

At the halfway stage, the Mercedes drivers were among the first runners to fit the soft tyres to complete qualifying simulation efforts, but curiously neither Bottas or Hamilton improved their personal bests on the softer rubber – although the latter did post the then quickest time in the middle sector.

When Verstappen emerged on the red-walled rubber a few minutes later, the Red Bull driver flew to the top spot with a 1m44.472s – beating Hamilton's fastest time in the technical middle sector before losing some ground to his personal best in the final third.

But it was nevertheless enough to give Verstappen the top spot by 0.041s to Bottas's best time on the mediums, with Hamilton 0.072s behind on his time also set on the mediums.

Fernando Alonso set the fourth fastest time for Alpine, ahead of Gasly and Lance Stroll.

Esteban Ocon ended up seventh after having a wild spin approaching the 40-minute mark when he lost the rear of his Alpine exiting the Fanges chicane and travelling sideways a long way down the track towards the first right of Stavelot before stopping facing the wrong way and then recovering to the pits with no damage other than a ruined set of softs.

Vettel, Norris and Sergio Perez rounded out the top 10 following the qualifying simulation efforts, with the Red Bull driver another runner who posted their best FP2 time on the mediums.

With further rain holding off, the teams were able to switch into their typical late FP2 high-fuel runs to gather information for the race long runs, but this part of the session was heavily disrupted.

First, with just over 15 minutes remaining, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who ended up 18th in the final standings, crashed at the final part of Les Combes – having lost the rear of his car when he accelerated out of the right-hand second part.

Leclerc's attempts to catch the incident brought him onto the kerbs on the inside of the sequence and he slid into the barriers between Turns 6 and 7, which knocked the left-front off his car and brought out the red flags.

After a short delay to recover the Ferrari, the session resumed with 10 minutes to go and most of the field lining up at the end of the pitlane.

The set off to complete further high-fuel running but this was cut short when Verstappen crashed with three minutes remaining – also at the final part of Les Combes, Turn 7, albeit exiting the corner compared to where Leclerc crashed.

Verstappen lost the rear of his RB16B at much high speed as he ran through the fast right-hander and went off backwards into the barriers on the outside, damaging both right-side wheels.

With so little time remaining and gravel strewn over the track as a result of the incident, FP2 was not restarted.

Check out our post-session podcast:

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 12 1'44.472
2 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 14 1'44.513 0.041
3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 13 1'44.544 0.072
4 Spain Fernando Alonso
Alpine 15 1'44.953 0.481
5 France Pierre Gasly
AlphaTauri 17 1'44.965 0.493
6 Canada Lance Stroll
Aston Martin 14 1'45.180 0.708
7 France Esteban Ocon
Alpine 15 1'45.302 0.830
8 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Aston Martin 16 1'45.336 0.864
9 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 18 1'45.386 0.914
10 Mexico Sergio Perez
Red Bull 13 1'45.404 0.932
11 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
Ferrari 14 1'45.517 1.045
12 Japan Yuki Tsunoda
AlphaTauri 17 1'45.758 1.286
13 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 16 1'45.789 1.317
14 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 18 1'45.967 1.495
15 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren 14 1'46.118 1.646
16 Canada Nicholas Latifi
Williams 17 1'46.198 1.726
17 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 14 1'46.665 2.193
18 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 13 1'46.836 2.364
19 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin
Haas 14 1'47.335 2.863
20 Germany Mick Schumacher
Haas 15 1'47.529 3.057

Related video

Capito drops Latifi contract renewal hint at Williams F1
Previous article

Capito drops Latifi contract renewal hint at Williams F1

Next article

Lewis Hamilton says F1 track surface has "ruined" Eau Rouge

Lewis Hamilton says F1 track surface has "ruined" Eau Rouge
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021