Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2021

Verstappen quickest, then crashes in second practice

2021 Belgian Grand Prix second practice

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Max Verstappen led the way in second practice at Spa-Francorchamps but brought the session to an early end by crashing.

The Red Bull driver lost control of his car at the exit of Les Combes and went into the barrier backwards, damaging the right-rear of the RB16B. The session was red-flagged and, with just three minutes remaining, the decision was taken not to resume it.

Verstappen’s crash was the second of the afternoon. Charles Leclerc brought out the red flags at the same corner a few minutes earlier. Both drivers were uninjured in their crashes.

The session was declared wet at the start, with drivers once again tentatively going out on track to assess the conditions. Valtteri Bottas and Lando Norris tried intermediate tyres initially but both said the conditions were dry enough for slicks.

Norris was the only car out on track for much of the first ten minutes but, as with the damp morning session, the mid-part of practice got considerably busier. Bottas led the majority of qualifying simulation runs but Verstappen set the quickest time right at the end of cars’ fastest runs. The Mercedes drivers had no answer, but they got close, both ending the session with a tenth of a second of the Red Bull.

Lewis Hamilton, who had been well adrift of team mate Bottas in the morning’s times, was much closer this afternoon. Red Bull chose to run different set ups on their two cars, which may explain the gap between Verstappen and tenth-fastest Perez.

Along with Verstappen and Leclerc’s crashes, Esteban Ocon had a spin at Fagnes which saw the Hungarian Grand Prix winner end up facing the wrong way on track. Ocon was able to continue and only damaged his tyres, though he was narrowly missed by Sainz, who followed him through the corner.

Despite Ocon’s spin both Alpine cars again looked strong in the session with Alonso getting the edge over his team mate. Aston Martin also got both their drivers into the top 10 while Gasly and Norris were their teams’ only representatives in the top half of the field.

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2021 Belgian Grand Prix second practice result

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1’44.472 12
2 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’44.513 0.041 14
3 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’44.544 0.072 13
4 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1’44.953 0.481 15
5 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1’44.965 0.493 17
6 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1’45.180 0.708 14
7 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1’45.302 0.830 15
8 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1’45.336 0.864 16
9 4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1’45.386 0.914 18
10 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda 1’45.404 0.932 13
11 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Ferrari 1’45.517 1.045 14
12 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 1’45.758 1.286 17
13 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1’45.789 1.317 16
14 7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1’45.967 1.495 18
15 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1’46.118 1.646 14
16 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1’46.198 1.726 17
17 63 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1’46.665 2.193 14
18 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1’46.836 2.364 13
19 9 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 1’47.335 2.863 14
20 47 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1’47.529 3.057 15

Second practice visual gaps

Max Verstappen – 1’44.472

+0.041 Valtteri Bottas – 1’44.513

+0.072 Lewis Hamilton – 1’44.544

+0.481 Fernando Alonso – 1’44.953

+0.493 Pierre Gasly – 1’44.965

+0.708 Lance Stroll – 1’45.180

+0.830 Esteban Ocon – 1’45.302

+0.864 Sebastian Vettel – 1’45.336

+0.914 Lando Norris – 1’45.386

+0.932 Sergio Perez – 1’45.404

+1.045 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’45.517

+1.286 Yuki Tsunoda – 1’45.758

+1.317 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’45.789

+1.495 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’45.967

+1.646 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’46.118

+1.726 Nicholas Latifi – 1’46.198

+2.193 George Russell – 1’46.665

+2.364 Charles Leclerc – 1’46.836

+2.863 Nikita Mazepin – 1’47.335

+3.057 Mick Schumacher – 1’47.529

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2021 Belgian Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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48 comments on “Verstappen quickest, then crashes in second practice”

  1. “Hamilton’s greater experience in title fights is no advantage.”

    — Verstappen

    Oh, then.

    1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      27th August 2021, 15:07

      Comparing apples to pears there

      1. Or…like comparing staying out of the barriers with being buried in the barriers?

        1. Hamilton crashed here in practice (in a far worse and more damaging manner) in 2019. Was that also due to a lack of title experience?

          1. Meh. Wasn’t in a title fight. And didn’t destroy the back end anyway.

        2. Or…maybe click the correct button?

    2. Isn’t finding where the limit is the whole point of practice ?
      There really is no harm crashing out with 3 minutes left in the session.

    3. I don’t care if Lewis has a greater experience at winning titles; I can lose all by myself!
      Seriously though, the measure of a great driver is the ability to recover from mistakes/misfortune. It will need great to see how well Max performs on Sunday, especially if he takes the full engine penalty. On this track with his abilities and car he could end up on the podium (or better) and that would be awesome to watch.

    4. @becken-lima What’s this got to do with anything?

  2. I guess Horner will have to take that one out of Max’ allowance, doubt they can blame Mercedes this time!

    Really hard to get a good view of who is fast with the changeable conditions, but I do think both Mercedes and Red Bull have something kept back. If Max has to take a new race gearbox, that might be what makes them decide to put another engine in the pool as well I think.

    1. Can’t believe I forgot to watch. They might as well take a penalty here since this is one of the easiest remaining tracks for overtaking. I’d risk a penalty rather than a DNF in the future. I mean #33 should be able to recuperate up to podium if he starts below 10th. Take the damage early if necessary.

      1. If the car is competitive, on paper he can beat bottas, who starts relatively far back.

  3. Crash-kid

    1. I miss Whitmarsh…

      1. F1oSaurus (@)
        27th August 2021, 18:53

        said no one ever.

        That crash kid remark came from Ron Dennis BTW.

        1. That crash kid remark came from Ron Dennis BTW.

          At least we have Google to prove you’re wrong. ;)

        2. That crash kid remark came from Ron Dennis BTW

          What a surprise, something else for @F1oSaurus to be wrong about

  4. Didn’t see the crash, so is it bye-bye gearbox situation?

    1. That gearbox does look like a write off yeah. But it might well be it is out of their “friday leftovers pool” if there is anything left in that, in which case it wouldn’t affect the gearbox they were going to put in the car for the rest of the weekend anyway tonight.

      1. At this stage of the season, I doubt any team would run a race gearbox on Friday. I Would be very surprised if Max had to take a grid penalty for a gearbox change.

  5. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    27th August 2021, 15:19

    Ah I see the ‘be kind’ thing only applied to Hamilton but not Verstappen, right.

  6. How were the long runs?

    1. Non existent :)
      No driver did more than two consecutive laps on high fuel and some of them didn’t do any at all.

  7. Quick note on that in helmet camera that Alonso was using.

    It’s the same camera that Formula E have been using & helping to develop for the past 2-3 years. It was designed by Zeronoise as part of a collaboration with the Bell helmets company and so can only be installed in Bell Helmets. It is currently the only helmet mounted camera that has been homologated by the FIA & even then only with a specific design of Bell helmet as both the camera & electronics are actually built into the helmet.

    HERE is an image of the camera & HERE is an image of it installed inside a helmet.

    Bell approached F1 about running that camera 3 years ago (Shortly after they developed it) & it was actually trailed with Fernando Alonso from memory at COTA in 2018 with Fernando hoping to run it at Abu Dhabi. However at the time it was felt that image quality & camera performance weren’t ready so FOM opted against using it. Formula E however opted to run it to help with it’s development (FOM also kept an eye on it with Bell keeping them updated on it’s development) & over the past few seasons it has been improved to a point where FOM now feel they can run it in F1.

    They were also looking at similar in helmet alternatives although ultimately this particular one been the only one that the FIA homologated makes it the only one that are able to use for live shots over a full race weekend.

    Depending on how it goes over the next few races it is hoped they will be able to have that in more helmets next season, Although again it’s going to be limited only to drivers using Bell helmets & those who use the specific helmet model which this is homologated for use in.

    1. Cool, thanks for the insight!

    2. @gt-racer Thanks for the info. A non-issue if only drivers using Bell helmets can have these cameras, not everyone has to have one anyway. One is already good, more only a plus.

    3. If you missed the footage from this camera F1 have uploaded it to youtube.

    4. I like it but I think that like when Formula E first started using it the FOV is a bit too narrow so the movements can be a bit too jarring to be able to watch it for too long.

      Formula E ended up using a wider angle lens which I think improved the view & made the movements that bit less jarring & that made it easier to watch without starting to feel a bit giddy.

      Towards the end of this season Formula E also started using an even wider angle lens.

    5. Very much enjoyed the footage from the helmet cam, much better than FE where half the image is pixilated for some reason…

      I have heard many comments over the years about going through Eau Rouge/Radillon and only being able to see the sky, was good to (sort of) see it for myself thanks to the Fernando’s-eye-view.

      1. @red-andy They pixilate over the wheel display in Formula E partly because teams don’t want other teams to see the readouts but also because there is no car to team telemetry in Formula E (Data can only be downloaded once cars are in the garage) so the series organisers don’t want the teams to see the readouts.

        It may not necessarily seem that important from the fans perspective but given the type of data that needs to be displayed on the wheel in Formula E you can learn a lot in terms of energy usage, deployment, overall power levels in different modes & more so that is stuff teams don’t want other teams/manufacturers to see. In races for instance knowing what mode a car is in, How much energy they are using etc.. could give an advantage.

        And the organisers aren’t keen on the team who’s car it is seeing is as they only want them to get a lot of that data from the drivers telling them over the radio.

        1. It’s also possible FOM may end up doing the same in F1 as not every team likes the dash displays been so clearly visible. If you look at footage they got from glasses cameras & visor-cam/cambox cameras in the past they often covered the dash display at the request of the team.

          1. Thanks for those. It seems like maybe Gasly’s was centered in his visor while Alonso’s was on the left side? That makes more of a difference with the halo in terms of knowing what the driver is really seeing.

        2. Thanks @gt-racer, I expected that would be the reason.

    6. Thanks @gt-racer. Such insights are the reason why I keep scrolling through the comments. (They’re getting progressively rarer so it’s always good to chance on one!)

    7. The footage was awesome. We need more of that. But I can see an average FI TV director looking at and saying, no good, it doesn’t destroy every sense of the speed, acceleration, braking, and turning of the cars or making them look like they are going 5mph down the straight.

      Just a glimpse of this is a shocking reminder that driving these cars is not like driving the overhead view in the game. You can’t see anything basically, what you can see is vibrating like heck from the drivetrain and the bumps, the steering wheel wants to spin out of your hand on the curbs, it’s brutally loud, and absolutely exhausting.

    8. That’s pretty cool. Thanks for posting.

      I still prefer the one that Sky used for the Mercedes demo runs, where the camera sits between the driver’s eyes.

  8. Interesting sessions today. Max was mighty quick through S2 on every run he did, while the Mercs were impressive through S1 and 3 (especially on their first run in FP2 on Mediums).
    I wonder how much of the difference was down to fuel loads/engine modes and how much to the actual setup they ran so far.
    The Mercs were definitely running a lower power mode on their 2nd run in FP2, but RB seemed to generally run lower power modes throughout practice. Can’t wait for qualy :)

  9. Mercs on the “slower tyres” still put in great times.

  10. That RB car really needs some upgrades. Look at where Perez is! They might have dropped from 2nd to 3rd car. Verstappen distorts the view of the work that needs to be done at RB

    1. Relax, it’s only Friday practice! Max is already up there and RB themselves said they were running more conservative engine modes today (which has a huge impact on lap time at Spa).
      Perez will be up there tomorrow and considering Bottas is carrying a 5-place grid penalty, the RB driver is likely to start ahead of him on Sunday.
      Judging by Max’s times in S2, I’d say RB may be slightly faster than Mercedes.

      1. Difficult to judge in today’s conditions but yes… Max may well take pole. However, Merc being faster in sector 2 & 3 (possibly) will give them a good chance to overtake. As always it’s that careful balancing act between top end speed and cornering speed that Spa always presents. Lewis and max will be 1-2 on the grid. In which order is the only question.

        1. Yeah I remember the huge kerfluffle when Hamilton and Button did “opposite” set ups for Spa and Hamilton got vex and posted Button’s telemetry traces on his Myspace page or whatever we had back then. That was the old non-Zen, non-vegan, stressed-out Hamilton.

        2. Reminder: Reply button is placed left. Remember that.

    2. F1oSaurus (@)
      27th August 2021, 18:55

      Yeah, you’d expect Perez to finally have a car with the same spec cars as Verstappen. Or did they bring a truck full of new parts only for Verstappen again?

    3. You can’t solve for both variables at once. But generally the car is probably better than Perez shows it and worse than Verstappen performs in it. Same with Hamilton and Bottas. The car is somewhere between them, except that Bottas occasionally looks amazing on Saturday.

      1. Indeed, bottas on average is performing better than perez, which is why I’m so surprised by the amount of people saying russell will replace him, when perez isn’t, although I’d like russell ofc.

  11. Verstappen did a Tsunoda

  12. Really?…I thought RB were teaching Yuki to be like Max….

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