Hamilton bounces back to top Belgian practice

hamiltonSPA-FRANCOCHANP: Lewis Hamilton bounced back to top the times for Mercedes ahead of Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari in Friday’s second free practice ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

The three-time world champion, who is 14 points adrift of Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari in this year’s title race ahead of his 200th Grand Prix, was second behind the Finn in the opening session.

Hamilton clocked a best lap in one minute and 44.753 seconds to finish 0.262 seconds ahead of Raikkonen who marked the confirmation of his Ferrari contract for 2018 with a speedy showing round the spectacular Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

The session began in bright and dry conditions, but finished in teeming rain as the micro-climate of the forests of the Belgian Ardennes delivered a capricious dose of its changeable weather.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was third quickest ahead of Dutchman Max Verstappen of Red Bull and championship leader Vettel.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who was 1.32 seconds off the leading pace, was sixth in the second Red Bull ahead of Nico Hulkenberg of Renault, Esteban Ocon of Force India, Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso and Briton Jolyon Palmer in the second Renault.

Felipe Massa of Williams took no part in the session after crashing and damaging his car on his opening lap of the opening session on Friday morning.