Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton set the pace during the second practice session for the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix, before rain fell at the Spa-Francorchamps track. Hamilton held a substantial advantage after the initial laps, which he completed on Soft tyres, and preserved a comfortable buffer after the field switched to Ultrasofts. His lap of 1:44.753 was 0.262s quicker than Scuderia Ferrari’s Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen, who clocked the fastest time during the morning session.
Valtteri Bottas finished third for Mercedes while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen still took fourth despite locking up into La Source. The Maranello team’s German driver Sebastian Vettel was fifth, with the leading quintet covered by less than half a second, as Daniel Ricciardo finished a distant sixth for Red Bull. Ricciardo, after an earlier problem, carried out his Ultrasoft run later than his rivals, and was unable to challenge for a higher position. Light rain began to fell with half an hour remaining in the session, and conditions quickly deteriorated, with the rain intensifying. Only Ricciardo and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso appeared for a brief exploratory lap on Intermediates, and cruised around the circuit at very slow speed as the deluge continued.
Lewis Hamilton finished the session two tenths of a second clear of Kimi Raikkonen, yet Ferrari’s long-run pace should be clearly seen as cause for concern for Mercedes and executive director of Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team Toto Wolff does in fact anticipate a close battle, especially on Sunday: “It’s very close” – Toto Wolff said at the end of the second practice session which took place Friday afternoon – “I think it is closer than you can see. Sebastian Vettel did a fantastic long run, which was much faster than everyone else.” – Mercedes F1 Boss explained, as reported by the British media.
Saturday’s final practice session for the 2017 Formula 1 Pirelli Belgian Grand Prix will begin at 11:00 local time.