Belgian GP: FP2 topped by Lewis Hamilton

It was Lewis Hamilton who topped the time sheet for the second free practice session at the Belgian Grand Prix. Hamilton beat Rosberg to the top spot by a margin of 0.604s.

In this morning’s opening free practice session, it was Nico Rosberg who topped the time sheet, narrowly beating his team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the spot. Come the second free practice session, the positions had changed around.

This afternoons session kicked off with a few minutes of waiting before someone ventured out. The first driver to hit the track was Max Chilton, following his contractual issues being resolved and regaining the race seat from Alex Rossi.

Drivers began to carry out their installation laps, with some posting timed laps. With Magnussen taking P1 with a 1:52:677. Unfortunately, running was forced into a temporary stop after Pastor Maldonado brought out the red flag.

On the run down the hill towards Pouhon, he lost control of his Lotus and found his car crashing into the barrier. The impact sprayed debris across the track before the car came to a stop at Pouhon.

With all the debris sprayed across the track and the car needing recovering, the red flag came out and proceedings did not continue for 7 minutes. For Vettel however, proceedings did not continue or even start in FP2 after the team needed to change his power unit. This came following an electrical issue in FP1 which damaged the engine.

As the cars crept their way onto the track, dark clouds were also sweeping in across Spa. Despite these dark clouds, the rain did not appear to be on its way. Just yet at least.

But what did come was a round of pass the parcel for the top spot. Massa moved into P1 ahead of Button, before the Brazilian was moved down by Rosberg. Nico wouldn’t hold it for too long, as Hamilton slotted in front by a couple of hundredths of a second. Even for his Mercedes, the top spot would change again soon after. This time with Alonso taking the top spot temporarily, before Hamilton moved four tenths ahead and firmly secured P1 for the time being.

Hamilton would hold on to the top spot for a while as another red flag stopped the session. This time the red flag was brought out by Esteban Gutierrez in his Sauber. As Gutierrez exited Blanchimont, he lost control of his Sauber and span. Sitting on the run off, and facing the wrong way, he was unable to get his car going again and was out of the session.

Gutierrez reported over his team-radio that he had suffered a gearbox issue as he turned in for Blanchimont. But what will be worse for the Mexican is that he will go into Saturday with just 7 laps completed in his 2014 Sauber, after sitting out FP1.

When the session was once again underway, Lotterer lead the field out of the pit lane. Drivers were now coming out of the pits on the soft compound tyres, with the McLaren duo taking the top spot on the fresh rubber.

Raikkonen already had suffered reliability issues in his Ferrari during FP1, and another gremlin crept up on the Finn in FP2. His engineer got on the radio to tell him that his Ferrari had a misfire and required some new parts. Kimi was running in 14th place at the time, but has won at Spa on four occasions.

When Rosberg took the track on the soft compound tyres, he stormed to P1 with a 1:49:793. But on his flying lap he ran wide, picking up gravel and loosing some time. That lost time could have helped him not to lose the top spot to his team-mate when Lewis brought his Silver Arrow across the line to complete a 1:49:189.

Ricciardo was the last of the front-runners participating in FP2 to set a timed lap on the soft tyres. But his Red Bull was not up to very high standards with it looking a bit loose out of Turn 9. Another car creating a spectacle to watch was Max Chilton and his Marussia as it sparked through Blanchimont and Eau Rouge.

As the session drew to a close, Red Bull continued to run flo-viz paint on Ricciardo’s rear wing and diffuser. With Vettel unable to take part in the session, the work all fell on the Aussie and was unable to challenge the top order at any part of the session. But one driver who challenge the top order was Fernando Alonso.

The Spaniard once again put his Ferrari in the ‘best of the rest’ slot, just a few tenths down on the Mercedes. If the weather can throw a surprise mid-qualifying tomorrow, Alonso or a Williams/McLaren could have the chance to challenge a Mercedes for a strong starting position. However, on the long run pace, the Mercedes duo appear to have a large lead over the rest so come Sunday it could and probably will be another Mercedes victory in 2014.

Pos No Driver Team Time/Retired Gap Laps
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:49.189 26
2 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:49.793 0.604 28
3 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:49.930 0.741 19
4 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:50.327 1.138 24
5 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:50.659 1.470 31
6 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:50.677 1.488 26
7 26 Daniil Kvyat STR-Renault 1:50.725 1.536 25
8 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:50.977 1.788 16
9 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:51.074 1.885 31
10 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:51.077 1.888 26
11 25 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Renault 1:51.383 2.194 26
12 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1:51.450 2.261 29
13 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:51.573 2.384 28
14 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:52.196 3.007 25
15 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:52.234 3.045 18
16 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1:52.776 3.587 23
17 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:53.955 4.766 7
18 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1:54.040 4.851 18
19 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1:54.050 4.861 30
20 45 Andre Lotterer Caterham-Renault 1:54.093 4.904 24
21 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault No time 2
22 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault No time 0