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Formula 1

Verstappen tops the times for Red Bull despite late practice crash

Red Bull's Max Verstappen has gone quickest in second practice at Spa-Francorchamps, but has given his mechanics a headache after crashing his car towards the end of the session.

Verstappen FP2 crash Spa
To news overview © Formula 1

Max Verstappen has struck back to top the times in second practice in Belgium, after Mercedes led the way in the morning session with Valtteri Bottas.

The Dutch driver used the Soft tyre to set a 1:44.472 and clinch top spot by just 0.041s over Bottas in the afternoon, with Lewis Hamilton a further 0.031s behind Bottas.

The top three were a full half-a-second clear of Alpine's Fernando Alonso, who celebrated his renewed contract by finishing Friday in fourth place.

Like the morning session, the session began in somewhat changeable conditions as some lingering moisture meant that Intermediate tyres were a possibility to head out on track. However, after some very brief exploration, the drivers opted for dry tyres and the pace quickly heated up.

Result Free practice 2 - Belgian

# Driver Team Time Tyre
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Aside from Verstappen pipping the two Mercedes drivers, the biggest incidents of the session happened with just a few minutes remaining.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc lost control going through Malmedy with fifteen minutes to go. Sliding off the track as he tried to flick into the corner, he hit the barriers and ripped the left front of his car off. This brought out the red flags while the damaged Ferrari was retrieved, ruining the longer runs that the drivers were aiming to achieve in the closing stages of second practice.

Verstappen, Bottas and Hamilton all came out on Mediums for the final nine minutes of track time as the session resumed, but with no change in the order as they evaluated their longer-run pace.

With just three minutes remaining, and pushing on his race run, Verstappen lost control of his RB16B going through the same corner that Leclerc had crashed. While the Ferrari lost it on entry, Verstappen lost the rear of his Red Bull on the exit and went off backwards, glancing the right rear against the barriers.

Scattering gravel all over the track, the session was stopped; it wasn't resumed as a result of the gravel on the racing line and the requirement to repair the barrier.

Away from the immediate front, AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly finished in fifth place ahead of Aston Martin's Lance Stroll. Alpine's Esteban Ocon, Formula 1's newest winner, finished the session in sixth despite a wild spin midway through. He was fortunate not to hit anything as he lost control approaching Stavelot, able to keep the car away from the barriers and continue.

Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel finished in eighth, with McLaren's Lando Norris in ninth, while the top ten was rounded off by Red Bull's Sergio Perez.

F1 2021 Belgian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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