Max Verstappen set the pace in the second practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix, though the Red Bull driver was just under five hundredths of a second ahead of surprise second-place man Daniel Ricciardo of Renault. Championship leader Lewis Hamilton finished third ahead of the second Red Bull of Alex Albon.
A damp track made for a quiet opening phase to the session but after 15 minutes Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, who had missed the morning session due to a power unit water leak, posted the first time of the afternoon.
He then traded fastest times with teammate Kimi Raikkonen before Esteban Ocon, Alex Albon and Valtteri Bottas lowered the benchmark on medium-compound rubber with the Mercedes man Bottas posting a time of 1:44.658s.
Verstappen then took over at the top with a time of 1:44.354 also set on mediums and Hamilton slotted into second with a hard-tyre time 0.2s behind the Red Bull.
With a third of the session gone it was time for teams to make the move to qualifying simulations on soft tyres and Bottas moved back to the top spot with a lap of 1:44.134s, before Hamilton quickly dropped him to P2 with a a lap of 1:43.840s. Albon and Sergio Perez split the Mercedes pair but then Ricciardo sprung a surprise by taking P1 with a time of 1:43.792s.
However, Verstappen was soon back on track and he stole marginally ahead of his former team-mate with a lap of 1:43.744. Hamilton, dropped to third ahead of Albon, Pérez and Bottas.
Ricciardo’s good work was undone in the final quarter of an hour when he suddenly lost power as he went through Raidillon. He coasted to a halt with his team making a preliminary diagnosis of a loss of hydraulic pressure.
The session was then red flagged when an advertising board placed on the run down the endurance pits straight fell onto the circuit. The session soon resumed, however, and teams were able to complete their long-run work.
Behind Bottas, McLaren’s Lando Norris, finished seventh ahead of Renault’s Esteban Ocon, the second McLaren of Carlos Sainz and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.
It was a dismal day for Ferrari, however, with 2019 Belgian Grand Prix winner Charles Leclerc classified 15th, while Williams’ George Russell edged Sebastian Vettel to P17.
2020 FIA Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1'43.744 21 243.044
2 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1'43.792 0.048 12 242.932
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1'43.840 0.096 23 242.819
4 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 1'44.134 0.390 21 242.134
5 Sergio Pérez Racing Point/Mercedes 1'44.137 0.393 23 242.127
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1'44.162 0.418 27 242.069
7 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1'44.168 0.424 22 242.055
8 Esteban Ocon Renault 1'44.208 0.464 23 241.962
9 Carlos Sainz McLaren/Renault 1'44.474 0.730 23 241.346
10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1'44.600 0.856 27 241.055
11 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1'44.678 0.934 23 240.875
12 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 1'44.826 1.082 26 240.535
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1'44.861 1.117 29 240.455
14 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1'44.896 1.152 23 240.375
15 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1'45.440 1.696 19 239.135
16 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1'45.463 1.719 25 239.082
17 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1'45.683 1.939 21 238.585
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1'45.774 2.030 26 238.379
19 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1'45.834 2.090 12 238.244
20 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1'46.242 2.498 12 237.329