Suzuka, FP2: Verstappen quickest again at Suzuka ahead of Leclerc, Norris

Sainz 4th, Russell 5th

By Franck Drui

22 September 2023 - 09:09
Suzuka, FP2: Verstappen quickest (…)

Max Verstappen went quickest in the second practice session for the 2023 FIA Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, beating Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by more than three tenths of a second as Lando Norris finished third for McLaren.

As with the morning session, Verstappen was on track early at the start of FP2 and he set the pace at 1:31.377 with his first timed run on Soft tyres, as rivals chose to focus on the test tyres Pirelli is evaluating this weekend.

Norris then moved ahead of the Dutchman with a lap of 1:31.152 before Leclerc bounced the Briton out of top spot with a lap of 1:31.008.

Verstappen was soon back on top as he posted a Soft tyre time of 1:30.668 to eclipse Leclerc by 0.320 and take the bragging rights for the second time on Friday. Norris ended the session 0.464 off Verstappen, with Carlos Sainz in fourth place in the second Ferrari thanks to a time of 1:31.237 that kept him a little under a tenth ahead of the fifth-place Mercedes of George Russell.

After the qualifying simulations the field moved back to harder compounds and longer, race-focused runs for the remainder of the session.

With two minutes left on the clock Pierre Gasly brough the session to a premature end he crashed at Turn 9, the second Degner curve. The Frenchman lost control on exit and arrowed his Alpine into the barriers just ahead of the underpass on the figure-eight track.

With his car badly damaged and requiring recovery, the decision was taken to call time on the session.

Behind Russell, Fernando Alonso took sixth place for Aston Martin ahead of Williams’ Alex Albon and the second McLaren of Oscar Piastri. Sergio Pérez and Valtteri Bottas completed the top 10.

01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:30.688 19
02 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-23 1:31.008 23
03 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:31.152 22
04 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF-23 1:31.237 22
05 George Russell Mercedes W14 1:31.328 22
06 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:31.492 22
07 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW45 1:31.555 23
08 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:31.662 22
09 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:31.710 24
10 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:31.739 22
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:31.771 22
12 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A523 1:31.794 22
13 Nico Hülkenberg Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:31.797 24
14 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 1:31.829 21
15 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:32.141 23
16 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:32.165 16
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:32.169 23
18 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:32.178 26
19 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault A523 1:32.179 22
20 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes FW45 1:32.320 25


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