Jeddah, FP2: Verstappen continues to set the pace

Alonso 2nd, Perez 3rd


By Franck Drui

17 March 2023 - 19:14
Jeddah, FP2: Verstappen continues (...)

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen went quickest in the second practice session for this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but whereas team-mate Sergio Pérez followed the Dutchman on the timesheet of the opening hour, in the night session Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso split the Red Bulls, finishing just two tenths of a second behind Verstappen.

Alonso’s team-mate Lance Stroll took an early P1 in the session with a time of 1:32.293 set on medium tyres, but he was soon displaced by Carlos Sainz’s lap of 1:31.080 but as the opening flurry of runs played out Verstappen rose to the top with a lap of 1:30.801.

Alonso then cut almost two tenths off that time with a lap of 1:30.612 and Pérez made his first claim to top spot with a lap of 130.428.

Verstappen was flying, though, and after breezing past his team-mate to the tune of 0.4s he then lowered the benchmark with a lap of 1:29.952.

The field then began to switch to soft tyres for qualifying but Alonso wasn’t able to beat Verstappen’s earlier time with his first attempt of 1:29.985, which left the door open to Perez who put in a tour of 1:29.902 to jump ahead of his team-mate.

As the session reached the halfway mark, Verstappen finally emerged and he stopped the clock at 1:29.603 to once again rise to P1, nearly three tenths clear of Pérez. Alonso was out for another attempt, though, and this time his lap of 1:29.811 handed the Spaniard second place, just under a tenth ahead of Pérez.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon took fourth place in the session, though his lap of 1:30.039 was just 0.03s clear of Mercedes’ George Russell. Ocon’s team-mate Pierre Gasly finished in sixth place ahead of Stroll, while Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg finished eighth.

Ferrari endured a tough session, however, with both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz struggling for pace. Leclerc ended the session in ninth place, with Sainz rounding out the top ten.

Lewis Hamilton, in 11th place, was the last man within a second of Verstappen and the Mercedes driver ended the session just ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and the AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda.

01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:29.603 29
02 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:29.811 26
03 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:29.902 26
04 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A523 1:30.039 27
05 George Russell Mercedes W14 1:30.070 27
06 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault A523 1:30.100 28
07 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:30.110 27
08 Nico Hülkenberg Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:30.181 27
09 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-23 1:30.341 28
10 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF-23 1:30.592 29
11 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 1:30.599 27
12 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:30.721 27
13 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:30.776 30
14 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW45 1:30.810 27
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:30.820 25
16 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:30.837 27
17 Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:30.921 29
18 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes FW45 1:30.959 30
19 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:30.964 26
20 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:31.052 30

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