Rain hits practice session at Spa ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix


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The Independent Online

Unrelenting heavy rain virtually washed out the second practice session ahead of Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix.

It was hardly the ideal return for Formula One after a 33-day hiatus since the last race in Hungary at the end of July.

But the capricious nature of the Ardennes struck again, casting a gloomy picture over the Spa-Francorchamps circuit for the entire day.

The famous seven-kilometre track was already sodden when the rain set in 10 minutes prior to the start of the first session.

At least the conditions were not too bad as a number of laps were posted during the opening 90 minutes, with Kamui Kobayashi in his Sauber quickest with a time of two minutes 11.389secs, albeit 23 seconds adrift of last year's pole lap.

During the course of the lunch break, however, the rain continued to teem down, so when it came to the start of FP2, unsurprisingly not a single driver ventured out.

It took 48 minutes for a car to emerge from the garage, at least offering those die-hard fans huddled under umbrellas a glimpse of some action.

It was Mercedes' Nico Rosberg who initially opted to brave the elements, followed shortly after by team-mate Michael Schumacher who this weekend celebrates his 300th grands prix.

On his 21st outing at this track, where he has previously won six times, Schumacher will have encountered such conditions on many occasions, but even by Spa standards today was exceptional.

Just 10 drivers set irrelevant timed laps, and only because they were on track at the end of the session and approached the start-finish line for a practice start.

Six drivers overall did not even bother to venture out - Mark Webber in his Red Bull, Lotus duo Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, Caterham's Vitaly Petrov and Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan for HRT.

To pass the time a number of drivers took to Twitter, with the likes of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton posting snaps of his car, helmet and racing boots at various stages.

It means the teams have precious little information to go on for qualifying tomorrow and the race on Sunday.

The hope, at least, is the final-hour long practice run tomorrow is dry, with the forecast looking promising.