Belgian GP - Friday - Practice Session 2 Report
What didn't happen
What didn't happen at Spa during Free Practice 2? It didn't rain. Rain is almost always a possibility at Spa. What also didn't happen at Spa during Free Practice 2 was that the Mercedes did not get beaten. There rarely is a possibility that somebody will be faster than Mercedes at any track, never mind the horsepower-craving Spa. Lewis Hamilton was quickest and 0.604 of a second quicker than his teammate Nico Rosberg.
The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 63 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Centigrade.)
Max Chilton, who had sat out FP1 while Alexander Rossi drove the Marussia, was first out in FP2.
McLaren's Kevin Magnussen soon set down a marker with a lap time of 1:52.677.
Soon thereafter Pastor Maldonado made some marks of his own as he spun his Lotus into the barriers at the entrance of Turn 10 -the Pouhon bend. That brought out the red flags eight minutes into the session so that marshals could remove his battered car.
14 minutes into the session, the green lights went on and FP2 resumed. As the drivers warmed up to the job, Nico Rosberg turned a 1:52.065 but his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton beat that with a 1:51.989. Felipe Massa (Williams) and Jenson Button (McLaren) were third and fourth at this stage.
21 minutes into the session, Fernando Alonso put his Ferrari on top with a lap time of 1:51.693. Hamilton answered that with a 1:51.276.
Then Esteban Gutierrez spun and stalled his Sauber at Turn 17 and that brought out the red flags 29 minutes into the session.
The top 10 at this time were: Hamilton, Alonso, Rosberg, Massa, Button, Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso), Magnussen, Nico Hulkenberg (Force India), Valtteri Bottas (Williams) and Adrian Sutil (Sauber.) Sebastian Vettel, whose Red Bull had suffered gearbox and exhaust problems in FP1, had done no laps.
36 minutes into the session, FP2 was resumed yet again. At this stage the drivers were on Pirelli's medium compound slicks with the white sidewalls. The other tire option was the soft with the yellow sidewall. And that is what Button and Magnussen used to shoot to the top of the charts with times of 1:50.569 and 1:51.074 respectively.
Other drivers were also running on the soft tire as the midpoint of FP2 approached. Kvyat moved into second with a 1:50.725, and Hulkenberg took fourth with a 1:51.077.
Midway through FP2 the top six were: Button, Kvyat, Magnussen, Hulkenberg, Hamilton and Sutil. That order did not last long as Bottas claimed second place.
With 43 minutes remaining in the session, Rosberg, on softs, jumped ahead with a 1:49.793. Hamilton smashed that with a 1:49.189. Alonso moved into third with a 1:49.930.
Vettel's total was still zero laps. With 31 minutes remaining in the session, his teammate Daniel Ricciardo, on softs, moved from 15th to eighth. The Renault-powered cars were definitely struggling against the Mercedes machines.
At the one hour mark the top six were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Alonso, Massa, Button and Bottas.
The teams devoted the final third of FP3 to doing long runs on the soft and medium tires.
The top 10 at the end of FP2 were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Alonso, Massa, Button, Bottas, Kvyat, Ricciardo, Magnussen and Hulkenberg.