BELGIUM: Red Bull’s Max Verstappen topped the day’s time sheets after going fastest in the second practice session ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix.
The 22-year-old Dutchman clocked 1 minute 43.744 seconds to beat Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo into second, with the Australian 0.048 seconds slower.
Standings leader Lewis Hamilton came third, 0.098 seconds off Verstappen’s pace.
Meanwhile after a poor first practice, Sebastian Vettel’s day got even worse. The Ferrari driver could only finish 17th, nearly 2 seconds off the pace. Teammate Charles Leclerc also had a miserable time of it, finishing 15th.
Earlier, Mercedes had continued their dominance of Formula 1 this season as Valtteri Bottas topped the first practice time sheets.
On his 31st birthday Bottas posted a best 1 minute 44.493 seconds around the 7.004-kilometre Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, with teammate Hamilton just 0.069 seconds behind.
Verstappen came third, 0.012 seconds slower than Hamilton. The Dutchman sits second in the drivers’ standings, 37 points behind Hamilton. Bottas is six points further back in third.
Meanwhile, Formula One confirmed that the second Bahrain grand prix, scheduled for Dec 6, is to take place on a significantly shorter version of the Bahrain International Circuit.
Drivers will navigate 87 laps of a 3.54km course. The only shorter track in the sport is the city circuit in Monte Carlo. “It could get exciting,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said on Friday at Spa-Francorchamps.
Simulations threw up lap times of under a minute in competition, with under 55 seconds possible in qualification. “That could be quite chaotic,” Alpha Tauri boss Franz Tost said.
The penultimate grand prix of the pandemic-truncated season is to take place at night. The usual 5.41km race is to be held a week before in the Sakhir desert. – dpa