Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022

Verstappen leads Leclerc by eight-tenths in second practice

2022 Belgian Grand Prix second practice

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Max Verstappen was comfortably fastest of all in second practice for the Belgian Grand Prix, leading title rival Charles Leclerc by eight tenths of a second.

Lando Norris was third-quickest for McLaren. However all the top three drivers in this session will take grid penalties for exceeding their power unit parts allocation.

The second and final practice session for the race at Spa-Francorchamps was again affected by rain in the later stages, with Verstappen setting the fastest time on the soft tyres midway through the session to end Friday fastest of all.

After earlier rain had effectively ended first practice early, the track was fortunately dry and ready for action when the second and final hour of the day’s running began. With a high risk of rain later in the hour, teams wasted no team in getting their cars out on the track.

Carlos Sainz Jnr was less than impressed on his first flying lap of the session when he came across the Aston Martin of Sebastian Vettel exiting Stevelot. Verstappen set the early pace with a 1’46.850 on the medium tyres, ahead of the two Ferraris of Sainz and Leclerc.

The Mercedes drivers of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell took to the track on the hard tyres, but Hamilton appeared to struggle for grip, running off track at Les Combes twice on his run. Russell did go third fastest, but was over a second slower than Verstappen. Lance Stroll used the soft tyres to jump to fourth in the Aston Martin, ahead of Hamilton.

In the second half of the session, teams focused on longer runs with race pace in mind. Pierre Gasly slid off the circuit at Bruxelles and into the newly installed gravel trap, but was able to recover out and continue. Verstappen used the soft tyres and pushed to go even quicker than before with a 1’45.507, the fastest time of the day and eight tenths of a second faster than Leclerc.

With just over ten minutes of running remaining, rain began to fall once again over the circuit. Leclerc, Norris, Fernando Alonso, Zhou Guanyu, Alexander Albon and Mick Schumacher all ran off the track at Les Combes as the track turned slippery, but fortunately all drivers managed to get back on track without any serious concerns.

Aston Martin sent both drivers out on wet tyres but were joined by most of the field in the final minutes as drivers took the opportunity to carry out practice starts at the end of the session. Verstappen attempted a practice start on the exit of the pit lane, but launched as the Alpine of Alonso was alongside him. The stewards noted the incident.

With no one able to improve because of the conditions, Verstappen ended the session quickest of all, eight tenths ahead of Leclerc. Norris was third fastest in the McLaren, ahead of Stroll, Sainz, Hamilton and Alonso. Russell, Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez completed the top ten, after a rear wing fault limited Perez’s running later in the session.

2022 Belgian Grand Prix second practice result

Position Number Driver Team Model Time Gap Laps
1 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull RB18 1’45.507 20
2 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 1’46.369 0.862 21
3 4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes MCL36 1’46.589 1.082 17
4 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR22 1’46.635 1.128 16
5 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Ferrari F1-75 1’46.649 1.142 20
6 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 1’46.893 1.386 18
7 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault A522 1’46.975 1.468 19
8 63 George Russell Mercedes W13 1’47.042 1.535 22
9 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes MCL36 1’47.255 1.748 18
10 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull RB18 1’47.346 1.839 15
11 23 Alexander Albon Williams-Mercedes FW44 1’47.520 2.013 15
12 24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo-Ferrari C42 1’47.617 2.110 21
13 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Red Bull AT03 1’47.658 2.151 16
14 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Red Bull AT03 1’47.782 2.275 19
15 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR22 1’47.867 2.360 19
16 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault A522 1’47.944 2.437 21
17 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari VF-22 1’48.208 2.701 19
18 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari C42 1’48.419 2.912 21
19 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes FW44 1’48.612 3.105 14
20 47 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari VF-22 1’49.941 4.434 23

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2022 Belgian Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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12 comments on “Verstappen leads Leclerc by eight-tenths in second practice”

  1. Leclerc’s somewhat puzzled comment after being told Verstappen’s time suggests that while Ferrari might be able to push their performance a bit more when it really counts, Verstappen seems to have a pretty real advantage over them at this point.

    Stroll’s time was surprisingly competitive in both sessions.

    1. Yes, while we shouldn’t read much in fp, it’s surprising to see an aston so far ahead.

  2. Mercedes are really closing the gap to the leading teams with their set of tailor-made mid-season regulation changes from the FIA.

    1. What mid-seaon regulation changes are you refering to, would that be the expected clamp down on the flexi floor?

    2. Indeed, lot of folks here like to talk about the illegal cars from ferrari and of course RB (the black sheep here). ‘Wait till the GB of Belgium where they ban these flexifloor (or at least measure this), at that time Lewis will learn them a lesson’. Not exactly the same words but it will come close to the several comments here

    3. ….but wait and see. It is not unthinkable Toto and his mates do the old sandbag-trick. I would not be surprised when lewis will do his endlessly long speech on Saturday in which he thanks the team for setting up the car so great after such friday. Lewis at his best

  3. Aauchh Perez. Come on man!

    1. I think Perez is on a different stratigy then Max I wouldn’t see much in FP1-2

  4. When Lance Stroll can out qualify both Mercedes, as he did here, you know Toto is playing wolf (games) again. By intentionally having his drivers going slower or sand bagging, to bait and lul his competitors, into thinking Mercedes is not that competitive. But in fact Mercedes is extremely competitive, and just don’t want to show how fast and strong they are, yet. I believe this will all change during qualifying, and thru the race. BB my 2 cents

    1. Please explain why they would do that. What’s the benefit? Do you think other teams will go slower because Mercedes isn’t fast? Occam’s razor might apply.

    2. I wouldnt read too much into that…. Lance and Co were very likely on different tires, or different fuel loads. Plus i suspect the Mercedes are using the first two practices to ‘test’ whatever they learned or developed over summer the break. With Lewis missing the corner and skiding off, it could mean more rearwing modifications.

  5. What does this mean for the quail. Are Leclerc and Max expected to not run in Q3 or will they?

Comments are closed.