Fernando Alonso was once again quickest for Ferrari as rain failed to disturb the second Belgium Free Practice session.
The Spaniard left it late to snatch top spot from the Force India of Adrian Sutil, with Lewis Hamilton third for McLaren.
As the session opened to a drying track, drivers quickly ventured out on intermediates, in an attempt to get as much running as possible.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa led the way early on, but his time was soon eclipsed by team-mate Alonso who first matched his time set in the morning and then bettered it by 0.3 of a second – breaking into the 1 minute 59 second barrier.
However, Ferrari’s stranglehold of the times was soon broken by Lewis Hamilton who, on his first run on intermediates, smashed his champions rival’s time by nine hundredths of the second.
Initially it looked as though Hamilton could not have timed it better, as shortly after he crossed the line a light sprinkling of rain began to fall.
The changing conditions ultimately caught out a number of drivers with Virgin’s Timo Glock forced out of the session when he crashed sideways into the barriers at turn 9. In addition the Force India of Tonio Liuzzi suffered a broken front wing, when it skidded across the gravel and into the tyre wall at Rivage. However, unlike the hapless Glock, the Italian managed to return to the circuit and circle back to the pits.
Despite these moments, the rain eventually failed to materialise in to anything substantial – allowing a dry line to form as drivers continued to pound around the circuit.
As the intermediate tyres began to suffer excessive graining, Jaime Alguersuari was the first driver to switch to slick tyres – a move which was eventually followed by all of the remaining competitors.
Although the session was not blighted by the heavy rain which featured in the morning, drivers were still delayed when race control red flagged the session in the final fifteen minutes after it emerged that spectators were in an unsafe position.
Subsequently, this would prove a source of great frustration to the teams, who saw their chances of valuable dry running slipping away.
The situation was further compounded with four minutes to go when the pit lane light malfunctioned, despite the session having been restarted – leaving drivers stranded in the pit lane.
However, undeterred by the delay, Fernando Alonso led out the gaggle of cars for a final run around the circuit and dully snatched the fastest time from Adrian Sutil by just over a tenth of a second.
The session did not go to plan for Red Bull Racing, which both drivers suffering problems throughout the 90-minute session. While Sebastian Vettel (sixth) was forced to wait in the pits as mechanics frantically worked on the right rear of his RB6, Mark Webber was forced to creep down to Eau Rouge with an expected engine issue.
Although the problem did not appear terminal, the Australian could not improve in the dying minutes of the session and was forced to languish in eighteenth.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Alonso Ferrari 1:49.032 25 2. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:49.157 0.125 17 3 Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:49.248 0.216 14 4 Kubica Renault 1:49.282 0.250 20 5. Massa Ferrari 1:49.588 0.556 23 6. Vettel RBR-Renault 1:49.689 0.657 19 7. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:49.755 0.723 20 8. de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:50.081 1.049 27 9. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:50.128 1.096 22 10. Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:50.200 1.168 24 11. Petrov Renault 1:50.251 1.219 24 12. Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:50.341 1.309 23 13. Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:50.382 1.350 21 14. Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 1:50.682 1.650 25 15. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:50.831 1.799 20 16. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:51.520 2.488 17 17. Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:51.523 2.491 25 18. Webber RBR-Renault 1:51.636 2.604 19 19. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:53.480 4.448 15 20. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:53.639 4.607 21 21. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:54.325 5.293 17 22. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:55.751 6.719 24 23. Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1:56.039 7.007 21 24. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 2:03.179 14.147 3