Belgian GP: Max Verstappen finishes fastest but crashes out of Practice Two on F1’s first day back – Sky Sports

F1 championship contender Max Verstappen finishes Friday’s action in the barriers after narrowly outpacing the Mercedes drivers on the timesheet; Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc also crashed out in Practice Two

Last Updated: 27/08/21 7:25pm

Max Verstappen crashed his Red Bull into the barriers, bringing out the red flag as Practice Two came to an end at the Belgian GP
Max Verstappen crashed his Red Bull into the barriers, bringing out the red flag as Practice Two came to an end at the Belgian GP
Max Verstappen crashed his Red Bull into the barriers, bringing out the red flag as Practice Two came to an end at the Belgian GP

Max Verstappen crashed out after setting the fastest time of second practice on F1’s first day back in action after the summer break at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Verstappen had narrowly outpaced Mercedes duo Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton in the qualifying simulations but ended the session against the barriers after losing the back end of his Red Bull at the Malmedy corner.

The Dutchman’s Red Bull appeared to sustain right-rear suspension damage.

“I just lost the rear, bit too much oversteer to correct and I hit the wall,” said Verstappen, who trails Hamilton by eight points in the championship.

“Before that we were very happy, a very positive start.”

Verstappen had set the pace with a best lap around the long and challenging Spa-Francorchamps circuit of 1:44.472, less than a tenth clear of both Mercedes cars whose best lap times came on the medium tyres, whereas the Red Bull posted its quickest lap on the grippier softs.

Heavy impact with the Ferrari into the barriers, Charles Leclerc lost the rear at the exit of Turn 6 and goes into the barriers when pushing on soft tyres
Heavy impact with the Ferrari into the barriers, Charles Leclerc lost the rear at the exit of Turn 6 and goes into the barriers when pushing on soft tyres
Heavy impact with the Ferrari into the barriers, Charles Leclerc lost the rear at the exit of Turn 6 and goes into the barriers when pushing on soft tyres

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc had earlier crashed out in the session at Les Combes.

Fernando Alonso was fourth quickest for Alpine ahead of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll.

Fernando Alonso donned a very special helmet at the Belgian Grand Prix. Jump onboard for Alonso's vision and experience the same sights and sounds as an F1 driver
Fernando Alonso donned a very special helmet at the Belgian Grand Prix. Jump onboard for Alonso’s vision and experience the same sights and sounds as an F1 driver
Fernando Alonso donned a very special helmet at the Belgian Grand Prix. Jump onboard for Alonso’s vision and experience the same sights and sounds as an F1 driver

Sergio Perez’s position at Red Bull for 2022 was confirmed in the hour before afternoon practice began and the Mexican finished the session in 10th place, behind McLaren’s Lando Norris, Aston’s Sebastian Vettel and Hungarian GP victor Esteban Ocon.

F1’s back: But is it Mercedes or Red Bull who hold the Spa edge?

Verstappen’s late crash aside, the main talking point from the opening two practice sessions since F1’s summer break was that the battle between Mercedes and Red Bull remains as competitive as ever.

Conditions were changeable throughout Friday around the famous track in the heart of the Ardennes forest, but the second session was less impacted by drizzly rain than the first.

Mercedes were fractionally faster than Verstappen on the medium compound, but failed to improve their times when the W12 switched onto the softer compound.

Lewis Hamilton reflects on a positive Friday practice session
Lewis Hamilton reflects on a positive Friday practice session
Lewis Hamilton reflects on a positive Friday practice session

“It has been an ok day. The car wasn’t quite underneath me today so I’ve got to do some work tonight and try and figure that out,” said Hamilton, last year’s victor at Spa.

“It’s a massively challenging circuit trying to find that balance [in set-up]. But it’s a great, great circuit.”

Qualifying is at 2pm on Saturday, live only on Sky Sports F1.

Belgian GP Practice Two Timesheet

Driver Team Time
1) Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:44.472
2) Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +0.041
3) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.072
4) Fernando Alonso Alpine +0.481
5) Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +0.493
6) Lance Stroll Aston Martin +0.708
7) Esteban Ocon Alpine +0.830
8) Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin +0.864
9) Lando Norris McLaren +0.914
10) Sergio Perez Red Bull +0.932
11) Carlos Sainz Ferrari +1.045
12) Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri +1.286
13) Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo +1.317
14) Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo +1.495
15) Daniel Ricciardo McLaren +1.646
16) Nicholas Latifi Williams +1.726
17) George Russell Williams +2.193
18) Charles Leclerc Ferrari +2.364
19) Nikita Mazepin Haas +2.863
20) Mick Schumacher Haas +3.057
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