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Verstappen fastest in Belgian FP2; more misery for Ferrari

Verstappen fastest in Belgian FP2; more misery for Ferrari

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Verstappen fastest in Belgian FP2; more misery for Ferrari

Verstappen fastest in Belgian FP2; more misery for Ferrari

Max Verstappen served notice he is firmly in the hunt for a Belgian Grand Prix victory this weekend on another day of abject misery for Ferrari.

After finishing third quickest in the first practice session at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, just 0.081secs behind pacesetter Valtteri Bottas in his Mercedes, the Red Bull driver topped the timesheet at the end of FP2.

In dry conditions, Verstappen posted the best lap of the day of one minute 43.744s to finish just 0.048s clear of a surprise in second spot in Renault's Daniel Ricciardo.

The happiness likely to have been felt with such a time will have been curtailed when the Australian's session ended 20 minutes early, pulling his car off track at the start of the Kemmel Straight due to a loss of hydraulic pressure.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, who had finished second quickest in FP1, was third in FP2, 0.096s behind Verstappen, suggesting Mercedes may not have it all their own way across the weekend.

As for Ferrari, at a circuit where Charles Leclerc emerged victorious a year ago, it was suggested that coming into the weekend the team would struggle on a power-heavy track, and so it proved.

In FP1, of the 17 drivers that set a time, only Williams duo Nicholas Latifi and George Russell were slower than Leclerc and team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

Come the second session, Leclerc and Vettel were languishing in 15th and 17th, with Russell splitting the duo.

Latifi finished just 0.091s behind Vettel in 18th, with Haas pair Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen bringing up the rear, but understandably so.

Both drivers had been forced to sit out FP1 due to power unit issues that resulted in changes, notably the cars requiring internal combustion engines and an MGU-H.

Magnussen only made it out on track with 32 minutes remaining in FP2, with Grosjean following a few minutes later, with the pair completing 12 laps apiece.

At the front behind the leading trio, Red Bull's Alex Albon was fourth quickest, almost four-tenths of a second behind his team-mate, followed by Racing Point's Sergio Perez and birthday boy Bottas, celebrating his 31st on Friday.

McLaren duo Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz then sandwiched Renault's Esteban Ocon, with AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly completing the top 10, 0.856s down, with Lance Stroll 11th in his Racing Point.

There was one moment of consternation during the session when it had to be red-flagged with 13 minutes remaining as an advertising hoarding was sprawled across the circuit, but was soon retrieved, leading only to a short lull in the action.

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