Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020

Verstappen, Ricciardo and Hamilton tight at the top in second practice

2020 Belgian Grand Prix second practice

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Three different cars and power unit manufacturers were separated by less than a tenth of a second at the end of second practice for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen’s Red Bull-Honda, Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault and Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes were covered by 0.096 seconds at the end of the second 90 minute session at Spa-Francorchamps.

Along with the majority of the field, the trio set their fastest times on the soft compound tyres. Hamilton, however, made a notable error at the final corner, which potentially cost the third-placed Mercedes driver a few tenths of a second.

But following his promising single-lap pace, Ricciardo’s session came to an early end. He brought his Renault to a stop on the Kemmel straight after suffering a hydraulic problem.

The rest of the session ran smoothly apart from a brief red flag interruption when a broken advertising hoarding fell onto the track at the exit of turn one. It had been loosened during the Formula 2 practice session when it was struck by Giuliano Alesi’s car.

The session brought little further encouragement for the six Ferrari-powered runners, all of which appeared in the bottom eight places with only the Williams-Mercedes in among them. Charles Leclerc was the quickest of the two works Ferraris in 15th, six-tenths of a second off Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo-Ferrari.

There was at least some good news for Haas. Having failed to set a time with either driver in first practice they returned both cars to the track halfway through the afternoon session having changed the engines in both cars. They were the slowest cars on the times sheets.

All four Renault-powered cars appeared inside the top 10 again. Sergio Perez put his Racing Point fifth, half a second quicker than his team mate, who didn’t get a good lap in on his soft tyres.

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2020 Belgian Grand Prix Second Practice classification

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
133Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’43.74421
23Daniel RicciardoRenault1’43.7920.04812
344Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’43.8400.09623
423Alexander AlbonRed Bull-Honda1’44.1340.39021
511Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’44.1370.39323
677Valtteri BottasMercedes1’44.1620.41827
74Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’44.1680.42422
831Esteban OconRenault1’44.2080.46423
955Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’44.4740.73023
1010Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’44.6000.85627
1118Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’44.6780.93423
1226Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri-Honda1’44.8261.08226
1399Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’44.8611.11729
147Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’44.8961.15223
1516Charles LeclercFerrari1’45.4401.69619
1663George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’45.4631.71925
175Sebastian VettelFerrari1’45.6831.93921
186Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’45.7742.03026
198Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’45.8342.09012
2020Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’46.2422.49812

Second practice visual gaps

Max Verstappen – 1’43.744

+0.048 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’43.792

+0.096 Lewis Hamilton – 1’43.840

+0.390 Alexander Albon – 1’44.134

+0.393 Sergio Perez – 1’44.137

+0.418 Valtteri Bottas – 1’44.162

+0.424 Lando Norris – 1’44.168

+0.464 Esteban Ocon – 1’44.208

+0.730 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’44.474

+0.856 Pierre Gasly – 1’44.600

+0.934 Lance Stroll – 1’44.678

+1.082 Daniil Kvyat – 1’44.826

+1.117 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’44.861

+1.152 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’44.896

+1.696 Charles Leclerc – 1’45.440

+1.719 George Russell – 1’45.463

+1.939 Sebastian Vettel – 1’45.683

+2.030 Nicholas Latifi – 1’45.774

+2.090 Romain Grosjean – 1’45.834

+2.498 Kevin Magnussen – 1’46.242

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2020 Belgian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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52 comments on “Verstappen, Ricciardo and Hamilton tight at the top in second practice”

  1. Renault on 2nd place means everything.
    I suspect sub 1:42 times come tomorrow

  2. Looks like Max is in the zone this weekend.
    I feel bad though for Ferrari … they need to sort things out very quickly.

    1. That Ferrari engine looks like a load of rubbish.

    2. if they are smart they use last year car then we will see the engine difference :) But i think they will be faster then now.

  3. Good to see Alfa ahead of works Ferrari. Hope it stays that way.

  4. Hmm if this is repeated into qually i wonder if the dozens of naysayers on here who said banning party mode will do nothing, will eat humble pie. Doubtful and today proves nothing but its encouraging. Unless you are a doom monger of course and then you must be gnashing your teeth.

    1. Whatever influence the ban has on Ferrari’s engine performance, it can’t be responsible for making Ferrari slower than Alfa Romeo. So I expect the Ferraris will be quicker than this tomorrow.

      1. It certainly isn’t an absolute that Ferrari will be quicker. I remember Mercedes telling Williams 5 years ago they could use party mode for 1 lap only .ie they had the data, not Williams, if you don’t know if party mode is going to melt the engine you don’t run it so hard. If Ferrari & Mercedes hold all the data they have all the advantage. They cant run it ergo they have less advantage. All of this is conjecture of course, but im hoping for some close racing, not to be proved right or wrong.

    2. The ban doesn’t start until Italy, so any quirky practice times or even qualifying results can’t be put down to that.

    3. Do you really think that Renault are suddenly, out of nowhere, blindingly fast and easily fighting for pole position? That seems very unrealistic to say the least.

    4. Erm, there is no ban in effect right now.

    5. Time to eat Monza pie Tony.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        28th August 2020, 18:34

        It’s called a cannoli in Italy

  5. I don’t understand why Ferrari don’t say to hell with it, and “fix” this year’s car. If they had a car on par with the Merc or even the Racing Point, if they were to start at the back of the grid they’d likely finish higher than they will with this car.

    1. If they had a car on par with the Merc or even the Racing Point

      They should probably do as RP did and copy the faster car (Alfa Romeo).

    2. the problem is the engine. they were on the mix on the other races but on a power track like this with what seems to be by far the weakest PU at the moment, there’s only so much they can do.

    3. @velocityboy No one can make any fundamental design or PU changes they are locked in till 2022, except McLarens Merc deal which is exempt.

      1. @johnrkh what is the penalty for breaking these rules? If the penalty is starting last on the grid, then I think it’s well worth it to modify the car and accept the penalty. As I said, starting last on the grid with a car approximating the performance of the Mercs, would likely yield a better finishing position than there current car starting 13th or 14th. Unless the penalty is draconian, I don’t see why they wouldn’t accept it and improve the car.

        1. @velocityboy It’s not like changing a PU or gearbox, the Ferrari has a fundamental design problem that can’t be fixed with the allowed upgrades, they basically need to design a new car. These issues are faced by all of the teams on the grid by varying degrees, all of the cars except McLaren are locked into the 2020 design they started out with in Melbourne.

  6. “Get that Ferrari out of the way!”

  7. seems like with party mode bans all 3 engines are equal

    1. That ban wont be in effect until next weekend.

      1. I suppose it’s possible that the teams are experimenting with their settings at Spa, maybe to get a feel for how things will play out before the rule actually comes into effect.

        1. It’s possible but drawing conclusions based on FP2 results is far fetched.

      2. And they never use party modes in FP either

  8. Could it be that Ferrari are only setting their car up for rain? They don’t have the pace on dry track so why not try something different.

    20 odd years ago they had almost a different car for rain. I’m not sure how much they change their setup nowadays for wet races..

    1. @qeki Given their luck the race will probably be bone-dry and then we’ll all be talking crap about their team for being strategically inept…

    2. @qeki the photographs from Spa show that all of the Ferrari powered cars, including the works team, are running extremely low downforce set ups – they’re basically all using Monza-spec packages.

      It means that they are still reasonably competitive in the first and last sectors, but having to strip that much wing off the car to stay competitive in those sectors means that they are really struggling for pace in the middle sector. In that respect, a wet race might not be that much better for them – it might even be worse as it would shift the equation towards needing more downforce, and running a Monza spec package will limit what they can do.

  9. None of the teams are using ‘party mode’ in FP1 and FP2.
    We’ll only see ‘party mode’ used in the last session of qualifying when MB will be a second a lap clear of the rest of the field.

    1. @ceevee Merc didn’t need ‘party mode’ in Spain during qually 3, so I’m guessing they’ll not need it tonight either.

  10. How amazing if Renault are genuinely on the up and Alonso actually gets a fighting chance next year.

  11. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    28th August 2020, 17:10

    This is exactly what we wanted to see!!! When Lewis destroys the opposition tomorrow and Sunday, even Horner will have to admit that Lewis is making all the difference, not the car.

    If anything, he’ll come out and say that the Red Bull car is much faster but Mercedes has much better drivers:)

    Then Toto will scream for equalization as it’s totally unfair for Mercedes to be forced to win with a slower car.

    1. I thoroughly enjoyed this comment!
      :-D

    2. Only if Bottas isn’t doing the same then it’s the car. So Mercedes 1-2 CAR is it Lewis Max and someone then it’s Lewis.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        29th August 2020, 3:28

        @macleod but how can you say that when Max and Ricciardo topped Practice 2 and Lewis could barely hold onto the 3rd spot? It’s obvious that just the mention of the FIA changes have already ruined Mercedes and completely reverted the order of things in the paddock…

        I feel terrible for Danny Ric – he must be cursing his fate to be heading to McLaren next year while Alonso is probably already writing his WDC speech for 2021.

        At this point, this year’s WDC can fall into anyone’s hands now – this is really exciting!!!

        1. Wow there tiger!! I know FP2 can be exciting but contain yourself 😀

        2. @freelittlebirds Free pratice isn’t saying much, long runs can say something about the speed. Renault is just doing a qualiflier run on very low fuel as they do often.

          Don’t expect much from Renault and certain not for the new year as i don’t have any faith in them. So Daniel moving on is much better he will drive a Mercedes engine car.

  12. And next week Monza ouch.
    In the Bahrein Outer Circuit the Ferrari cars can be lapped 3-4 times.
    I know they were cheating, but F1 this year would be much more interesting with last year Ferrari power unit, they’d have been the front runners in Austria(x2), Spa, Monza, Sochi, Imola and Bahrein(x2)

    1. @doctorlovesexy I don’t think it’s purely down to the power unit. The aerodynamics of the car is also far worse compared to last year. They weren’t competitive in Hungary either, which is not a power-dependant circuit.

      1. @mashiat they were, though, still more competitive in relative terms in Hungary than they have been so far in Spa – they eventually qualified in 5th and 6th in that race and, during the dry sessions in Hungary, they were still generally able to set lap times within the top 8.

        The package as a whole may not be brilliant, but it does seem that a number of those deficiencies do seem to be more noticeable in Spa than they might have been at a lower speed circuit.

  13. Much more to come from Mercedes I think. Long runs hint at their continued dominance. Maybe the fight is on between Bottas and Verstappen, but surely Hamilton will easily win this one.

  14. It would be great if this result had any meaning come Sunday but I’m pretty sure it won’t. Maybe Max will bring the fight to Lewis (I don’t count on Bottas anymore, most likely he’ll be beaten by Max) but the Daniel (and the Renaults) will be nowhere near the front…

  15. If every driver had equal machinery those would be the top three drivers in the sport

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      28th August 2020, 18:49

      Top 4! Don’t forget Albon! These are the best on the grid right now, in that order!

    2. That one must hurt.. did it?

    3. You are probably right.

  16. Williams have finally caught up with Ferrari, I guess…

  17. Happy Alonso noises for the Renault.

    Meanwhile at Ferrari: GP2 engine, GP2 engine, argh!

  18. Have to say it Ricciardo really got the best out of the Renault probably won’t do so well in the race. A Ricciardo/McLaren combo next year is looking good.

  19. Yeah, nice one Lewis, so tomorrow if no rain comes you will not be 0.5 to 0.8 faster than anyone right?

  20. Ricciardo is consistently quicker than Ocon. Ocon needs to improve before Alonso arrives

    1. Ocon was always a above average/good driver but nothing special. Look at his F3 season he became champion in the best team/car/Mercedes engine with only 2 wins. Max was third with 10 wins in a midfieldteam and the VW engine. Max’s car had a lot of DNF otherwise he would be champion very easy.

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