Spain, FP1: Verstappen quickest ahead of Pérez and Ocon

First practice for Spanish Grand Prix 


By Franck Drui

2 June 2023 - 14:42
Spain, FP1: Verstappen quickest (...)

Max Verstappen set the pace in the first practice session for this weekend’s 2023 FIA Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix, beating Red Bull team-mate Sergio Pérez by almost eight tenths of a second. Monaco Grand Prix podium finisher Esteban Ocon took third place for Alpine.

With the session being run on the latest iteration of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, without the final chicane, even lap times were expected to be significantly lower compared to last year and from early on that proved to be the case.

Local hero Fernando Alonso was the first driver on track, much to the delights of the fans at the Barcelona track, but it was Verstappen who set the first representative time on Pirelli’s C1 Hard compound tyre, posting a lap of 1:17.425, dislodging team-mate Sergio Pérez from the top of the timesheet. Verstappen then lowered the benchmark to 1:16.583 before the Red Bulls both moved to the Medium compound tyre.

Pérez posted a 1:16.420 to return to P1 but Verstappen jumped ahead again with a 1:15.945.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz then put his heavily revised Ferrari in third place but the Spanish driver was soon demoted by Alonso. Alpine’s Pierre Gasly then split the Red Bulls by taking second a little over four tenths off Verstappen’s P1 pace.

Having worked through the harder compounds in the first half , both Red Bulls then switched to soft tyres in the second half of the session and Pérez jumped to the top of the order again, with a lap of 1:15.374s before Verstappen vaulted ahead with his best lap of 1:14.606s to go nearly 0.8s quicker than his team-mate.

Over the next 20 minutes the Ferrari drivers got closest to Verstappen’s headline time but still they were a second adrift. AlpahTauri’s Nycke de Vries then took third place but in the closing minutes of the session Ocon moved ahead of the Dutch driver to claim third.

Gasly was fifth fastest in the second Alpine, while Alonso took sixth with a lap of 1:15.547.

The Spaniard was the last man within a second of Verstappen. Haas’ Kevin Magnussen finished seventh for Haas, 1.083s off the lead Red Bull while Charles Leclerc, not running updates, was the lead Ferrari ahead of Sainz. George Russell completed the top 10 for Mercedes.

01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:14.606 32
02 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:15.374 32
03 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A523 1:15.418 28
04 Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:15.504 27
05 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault A523 1:15.545 27
06 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:15.547 24
07 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:15.689 22
08 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-23 1:15.694 28
09 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF-23 1:15.726 27
10 George Russell Mercedes W14 1:15.753 32
11 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:15.783 25
12 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 1:15.845 29
13 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:15.906 24
14 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:15.915 27
15 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:15.939 25
16 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:15.978 24
17 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:16.353 26
18 Nico Hülkenberg Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:16.461 28
19 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes FW45 1:16.506 30
20 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW45 1:16.630 28

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