FP2: Leclerc completes Friday sweep for Ferrari

Mark Scott
Charles Leclerc Ferrari

Charles Leclerc

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc upped the ante in second practice at Spa as the Scuderia completed a Friday practice double ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix.

Leclerc set a 1:44.123 during his qualifying simulation run to finish P1, adding to Sebastian Vettel’s P1 in first practice.

Vettel was six tenths back in P2, while Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were two tenths further adrift in P3 and P4 respectively.

SportPesa Racing Point’s Sergio Perez was a surprise entrant in the top five after Max Verstappen had a troubled session in P6.

Rounding off the top 10 were: Kimi Raikkonen, Lance Stroll, Daniel Ricciardo and Alex Albon.

As the sun continued to beat down on the iconic Spa circuit, a spot of medium tyre running was first on the agenda for much of the grid in the early stages of FP2.

Leclerc set the first benchmark with a 1:45.377, but Verstappen was just 0.017s shy of the target. The Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Bottas followed next and were two and fourth tenths down respectively.

Vettel was six tenths behind after his first run.

Not all was well between the big guns, though. Hamilton requested a helmet change as dust and sand blew into his eyes and Verstappen reported a loss of power as he went for a second attempt on his medium tyres.

Then on went the quickest red-striped soft tyres as the qualifying sim runs got underway…

As Red Bull initially struggled to find improvement, Ferrari had no such problems as Leclerc pumped in a 1:44.123, a full six tenths clear on Vettel.

Bottas and Hamilton, in P3 and P4 were eight tenths off the pace.

During the race simulation programmes within the final half hour of the session, Verstappen reported more power loss issues. However, Red Bull did not appear too concerned after the Dutchman only made a quick stop back in the garage.

There were bigger issues for SportPesa Racing Point as both Lance Stroll and Perez had their sessions cut short due to both cars starting to smoke.

They had new Mercedes Spec-3 engines fitted before Friday’s running…

FP2 timesheet

1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:44.123 28
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.630s 30
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.846s 28
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.892s 26
5 Sergio Perez Racing Point 0.994s 25
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1.271s 20
7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1.585s 25
8 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1.609s 21
9 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1.612s 26
10 Alex Albon Red Bull 1.648s 21
11 Carlos Sainz McLaren 1.876s 28
12 Romain Grosjean Haas 1.997s 21
13 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 2.086s 26
14 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 2.091s 24
15 Lando Norris McLaren 2.135s 29
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 2.205s 24
17 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 2.251s 28
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas 2.276s 21
19 George Russell Williams 3.764s 30
20 Robert Kubica Williams 4.208s 32

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