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Verstappen maintains lead in FP2 of Saudi Arabian GP



Verstappen maintains lead in FP2 of Saudi Arabian GP

In the second practice session of the 2023 Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen maintained his position at the top of the standings. However, Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin managed to split the Red Bull cars of Verstappen and Sergio Perez. Meanwhile, the Ferraris failed to make a significant impact once again.

Here are the key moments from the second practice session of the 2023 Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix:

Max Verstappen set the fastest lap time on his fourth lap using the soft tyres.
Fernando Alonso managed to split the two Red Bull cars of Verstappen and Sergio Perez on his second run.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso finished fourth and sixth, respectively, with George Russell’s Williams splitting them in fifth.
The Ferraris, driven by Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, could only manage to round out the top 10.

In the second practice session of the day, Max Verstappen continued his impressive pace from the first practice by setting the fastest lap time when teams initially opted for the medium tyres at the start of the 60-minute session. However, his lap time of 1m30.058s was four tenths of a second slower than his earlier effort. As the teams moved on to their qualifying simulation runs and switched to the soft tyres, Verstappen was initially overtaken by his teammate Sergio Perez, who set the fastest lap time in the session. However, Perez’s lap was only half a tenth of a second faster than Verstappen’s, with the final sector being the Mexican’s strongest.

The reigning world champion and winner of the season-opening Bahrain GP, Max Verstappen, eventually reclaimed the top spot on the timesheet when he went for a qualifying run on the soft tyres. On his fourth lap on the softer compound, Verstappen set a time of 1m29.603s, which remained the fastest lap time of the second practice session.

However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Verstappen as he encountered issues with his downshifts during his long run towards the end of the session. He described the downshifts as “really bad” and noted that they were particularly problematic through the final corner of the track.

Sergio Perez’s fastest final sector kept him within three tenths of his teammate, but he was pushed back to third place by Fernando Alonso, who was sent out for a second simulation on soft tyres. Alonso was on track to set the fastest lap time on his first run before he had to take the right-hand side of the tricky, modified Turn 22 chicane at the Jeddah circuit, which compromised his lap time. However, Alonso managed to go even faster on his second run, finishing the session just 0.208s behind Verstappen, in second place.


Before the weekend, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly from the Alpine team had expressed confidence in potentially challenging the Mercedes drivers in Jeddah. However, their performances in FP2 hinted at the possibility of an even better result. Ocon set the fourth-fastest time of the session, 0.061s faster than his teammate Gasly, who finished in sixth place. This strong showing suggests that the Alpine drivers could be in contention for a strong result in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly’s impressive performances in FP2 placed them between the lead Mercedes of George Russell, who finished in fifth place, within half a second of Verstappen’s fastest lap time. However, Russell reported to his team at the end of the qualifying simulations that they needed to make some significant changes to improve the car’s performance.

Lance Stroll’s second Aston Martin finished in eighth place, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, who managed to set another impressive lap time in the Haas VF23. Hulkenberg had previously shone in the qualifying sessions in Bahrain two weeks earlier.

Both Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly were more than a tenth and a half quicker than the fastest Ferrari in FP2. Charles Leclerc finished the session in a low-key ninth place, while his teammate Carlos Sainz finished in tenth place. Sainz managed to improve his lap time on his second push lap on the soft tyres, putting him 0.007s ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the second Mercedes W14.

Similar to the previous race in Bahrain, the field remained incredibly competitive in the second practice session of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Carlos Sainz, who finished in 10th place, was less than four tenths of a second ahead of the second slowest car in the times, the McLaren of Oscar Piastri.

Valtteri Bottas finished at the bottom of the timesheet for Alfa Romeo, but was still within 1.5 seconds of the fastest lap time set by Verstappen.

Here’s the table of the top 20 fastest lap times from the second practice session of the 2023 Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix:

PosNameCarBest TimeGap Leader
1Max VerstappenRed Bull1m29.603s
2Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-Mercedes1m29.811s+0.208s
3Sergio PérezRed Bull1m29.902s+0.299s
4Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1m30.039s+0.436s
5George RussellMercedes1m30.07s+0.467s
6Pierre GaslyAlpine-Renault1m30.1s+0.497s
7Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1m30.11s+0.507s
8Nico HülkenbergHaas-Ferrari1m30.181s+0.578s
9Charles LeclercFerrari1m30.341s+0.738s
10Carlos Sainz Jr.Ferrari1m30.592s+0.989s
11Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m30.599s+0.996s
12Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1m30.721s+1.118s
13Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1m30.776s+1.173s
14Alex AlbonWilliams-Mercedes1m30.81s+1.207s
15Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1m30.82s+1.217s
16Guanyu ZhouAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1m30.837s+1.234s
17Nyck de VriesAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1m30.921s+1.318s
18Logan SargeantWilliams-Mercedes1m30.959s+1.356s
19Oscar PiastriMcLaren-Mercedes1m30.964s+1.361s
20Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1m31.052s+1.449s

Verstappen FP2 Saudi Arabian Verstappen FP2 Saudi Arabian Verstappen FP2 Saudi Arabian

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