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Lewis Hamilton leaves Nico Rosberg trailing behind

LEWIS HAMILTON produced a bruising practice performance that put even his Formula One title rival and team-mate Nico Rosberg in the shade.

Lewis Hamilton was second fastest in second practice for the Belgian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton was second fastest in second practice for the Belgian Grand Prix

Hamilton, claiming to be rejuvenated and reinvigorated following the sport's summer break, underlined that feeling by comfortably topping yesterday's timesheet ahead of tomorrow's Belgian Grand Prix.

Hamilton, 11 points adrift of Mercedes team-mate Rosberg with eight races remaining, conjured a time of one minute 49.189 seconds for the seven-kilometre Spa-Francorchamps circuit, finishing a staggering six tenths of a second clear of the German. Rosberg had edged Hamilton in FP1 by a mere 0.097secs as Pirelli's medium-compound rubber - the slightly slower tyre this weekend - took centre stage.

But come the soft-tyre runs in FP2, Hamilton crushed Rosberg, who ran wide on one of his final hot-lap attempts, scattering gravel over the renowned track.

"It was a good feeling out there," said Hamilton. "It was a good result, but I need to put all of that into Saturday and Sunday."

A possible fly in the ointment is that rain is forecast, with the weather too often a leveller. "We've seen rain so often here in the past and that can really mix things up, particularly when it's wet in places and dry in others," he added.

"Your visor is almost level with the ground, so it's not like looking from above where you can see the different patches.

"That makes it really hard to pick out the areas where you can find grip, but it's also a lot of fun."

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