Belgian GP: Max Verstappen leads Red Bull one-two in practice

Max Verstappen spearheaded a Red Bull one-two at the end of second practice for the Belgian Grand Prix as Formula 1 returned from its summer break

Belgian GP: Max Verstappen leads Red Bull one-two in practice

It appeared to be a case of normal service in the Mercedes-led first practice at Spa-Francorchamps.

But come the second session, and following an early blast on the super-soft tyres, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton embarked on differing run plans, leaving the Red Bull team-mates to take over at the top of the timesheet.

For only the second time in the last 17 practice sessions a Mercedes driver was not out in front as Verstappen posted a lap of 1m48.085s to finish a quarter of a second up on Daniel Ricciardo, and 0.263s ahead of Rosberg's best from the morning.

Verstappen later complained on a couple of occasions about a loss of power, with the team unable to find a fix.

Rosberg, who trails Hamilton in the championship standings by 19 points, predominantly used the soft tyre in second practice and finished down in sixth place, just over a second behind Verstappen.

Hamilton began the session with a second fresh power unit for this weekend and so far faces a 30-place grid penalty as he builds up a pool of systems to see him through the season.

The three-time champion, who will start the race at the back of the field, embarked on a long run on the medium tyres after an early soft stint that had netted him 13th place, 1.697s off the pace.

Behind the frontrunning Red Bulls, Force India's Nico Hulkenberg was third best, almost six tenths of a second down, followed by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, with the four-time champion 0.938s adrift.

Vettel endured a scruffy session early on, encountering backmarkers to whom he either gesticulated or made comment over the radio, even when they did not appear to be at fault.

Force India continued to fare well, with Sergio Perez fifth fastest, narrowly ahead of Rosberg, and Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari in close attendance in seventh.

The Haas pair of Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez enjoyed a strong run, finishing eighth and 10th, sandwiching McLaren's Jenson Button.

Grosjean and Button ended with identical times of 1m49.419s, but with the Frenchman ahead in the standings as his lap was posted first.

Fernando Alonso was at least in the action after managing just three installation laps in practice one due to a water leak from his new Honda engine.

Fitting a new system in the break meant taking the sixth element of each of the six power unit components, so Alonso will join Hamilton on the back row as he faces a 35-place grid penalty.

Alonso totalled 30 laps in the second session, and was 12th quickest behind the Manor of Pascal Wehrlein, whose new team-mate in Esteban Ocon was nine tenths of a second down in 21st.

One place ahead of Ocon was Renault's Jolyon Palmer. His session appeared to be over early on when he ground to a halt, but he was able to restart the car via the MGU-K.

PRACTICE TWO TIMES:

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m48.085s - 27
2 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m48.341s 0.256s 27
3 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m48.657s 0.572s 30
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m49.023s 0.938s 27
5 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m49.100s 1.015s 27
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m49.161s 1.076s 33
7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m49.244s 1.159s 30
8 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m49.419s 1.334s 20
9 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m49.419s 1.334s 23
10 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1m49.648s 1.563s 23
11 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1m49.716s 1.631s 31
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m49.772s 1.687s 30
13 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m49.782s 1.697s 33
14 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m49.916s 1.831s 25
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m50.083s 1.998s 27
16 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m50.151s 2.066s 19
17 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m50.157s 2.072s 29
18 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m50.194s 2.109s 25
19 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m50.375s 2.290s 34
20 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m50.562s 2.477s 32
21 Esteban Ocon Manor/Mercedes 1m50.659s 2.574s 25
22 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m50.719s 2.634s 24


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