Belgian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton heads practice before heavy rain

Lewis Hamilton continued his flying start to the resumption of the Formula 1 season by topping second practice for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa

Belgian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton heads practice before heavy rain

Hamilton ended up relatively comfortable at the head of the times, defeating first-practice pacesetter Kimi Raikkonen as the Finn overshadowed his Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

The initial flurry of lap times settled briefly with championship leader Vettel going quickest just after 10 minutes on a 1m46.405s, using super-soft tyres.

Valtteri Bottas briefly moved to the summit on a 1m46.331s on the same rubber 10 minutes later, but a lock-up at the La Source hairpin at the start of his lap meant that was always beatable.

Hamilton then set a 1m45.634s on softs, and that remained the benchmark until the qualifying simulations just after the half-hour mark.

Vettel was first of the frontrunners to bolt on ultra-softs and he jumped to first place on a 1m45.235s, which Bottas quickly beat with a 1m45.180s.

Raikkonen put Ferrari ahead again on a 1m45.015s, before Hamilton resumed his position in front.

The Briton failed to set an overall-best sector, but personal-best times in all three parts of the lap resulted in a 1m44.753s that left him a quarter of a second clear.

Vettel pushed again a few minutes later, setting the fastest first sector, but his lap fell away and allowed Red Bull's Max Verstappen to jump him into fourth, within half a second of Hamilton.

The teams switched to long runs and managed a few laps before light rain started to fall with 25 minutes remaining - and within five minutes every driver was back in the pits as the rain got even heavier.

Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso were the only two to head out for exploration runs, but bizarrely chose intermediate tyres - and tip-toed back to the pits immediately in conditions that even full wets would have been insufficient for.

Ricciardo wound up sixth fastest, 0.8s slower than team-mate Verstappen, after suffering a problem with the car in the first half of the session that briefly limited his running.

Nico Hulkenberg put Renault best of the rest in seventh, just ahead of Force India's Esteban Ocon.

Carlos Sainz Jr (Toro Rosso) and Hulkenberg's team-mate Jolyon Palmer completed the top 10.

Haas duo Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen ended up 13th and 16th, having started the session with almost simultaneous DRS failures.

Magnussen was later involved in an odd incident with Sergio Perez, angering the Force India driver by getting in his way at the Turn 9 left-hander and then weaving in front of him on the run downhill to Pouhon.

The only driver not to set a time was Felipe Massa, who failed to take part after his practice one crash resulted in chassis change.

FP2 times

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m44.753s - 17
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m45.015s 0.262s 21
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m45.180s 0.427s 17
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m45.225s 0.472s 16
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m45.235s 0.482s 20
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m46.072s 1.319s 15
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m46.441s 1.688s 24
8 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m46.473s 1.720s 19
9 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Renault 1m46.561s 1.808s 19
10 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m46.670s 1.917s 23
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m46.743s 1.990s 20
12 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m46.984s 2.231s 18
13 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m47.285s 2.532s 15
14 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Honda 1m47.303s 2.550s 17
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault 1m47.450s 2.697s 12
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m47.556s 2.803s 15
17 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m47.861s 3.108s 13
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m49.214s 4.461s 12
19 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber/Ferrari 1m49.725s 4.972s 18

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