Red Bull and Aston Martin continued to be the top two teams in Jeddah’s practice sessions, with Max Verstappen taking the top spot in both.
Reigning world champion Max Verstappen maintained control of the 2023 championshp battle in Saudi Arabia by posting the fastest time of 1:29.603s on Friday night at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
That was two tenths faster than Fernando Alonso, who demonstrated that the Aston Martin performance seen in Bahrain is here to stay and had properly adapted to this week’s extremely different track conditions.
Sergio Perez was third fastest in the sister Red Bull ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, and George Russell marked the first Mercedes as he was fifth fastest ahead of Pierre Gasly. Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, both Ferrari drivers, finished outside the top ten.
The second practice session—the only one that the drivers will get that is reflective of the grid before qualifying tomorrow—began after dark. A notable exception was Sergio Perez, who stayed in his garage for a little while longer than the other drivers. Lance Stroll led the pack out as most of the drivers were eager to get out and start racing.
As the first ten minutes of the session came to a finish, Perez was in the lead with a set time of 1:30.428 on the mediums, followed by Fernando Alonso by less than two tenths. AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda had a close call in the early going after hitting the wall at T22.
The new, tighter T22 didn’t just catch Tsunoda off guard as Alonso also lost control on his first flier on the softs and was forced to abort the lap. Nico Hulkenberg pulled in a terrific lap for Haas just before the session’s midpoint, clocking in at 1:30.181, moving him up to P4 behind the two Red Bulls and Alonso, who had all clocked lap times under 1:29.
As the qualifying simulations came to a conclusion and the teams prepared for long runs, the track once more fell almost completely silent as the session approached its final twenty minutes. The majority of teams picked the softs and mediums for the race simulations, but Williams did send Logan Sargeant out on the hards for the session’s closing stretch.
The times remained unchanged, therefore Verstappen came out on top with a 1:29.603—just over two tenths faster than his FP1 time. Alonso finished second for Aston Martin, and Perez finished third, three tenths off his teammate’s mark.
Stroll finished the day in P7, 0.507 seconds off Verstappen, with Hulkenberg taking P8 for Haas, as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz rounded out the top ten, and Lewis Hamilton in P11 being the final driver to finish within a second of the day’s quickest time.
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Free Practice 2 Results
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:29.603||29|
|2||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:29.811||+0.208s||26|
|3||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:29.902||+0.299s||26|
|4||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:30.039||+0.436s||27|
|6||10||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault||1:30.100||+0.497s||28|
|7||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:30.110||+0.507s||27|
|8||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas Ferrari||1:30.181||+0.578s||27|
|12||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:30.721||+1.118s||27|
|13||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:30.776||+1.173s||30|
|14||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:30.810||+1.207s||27|
|15||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:30.820||+1.217s||25|
|16||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:30.837||+1.234s||27|
|17||21||Nyck De Vries||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:30.921||+1.318s||29|
|18||2||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes||1:30.959||+1.356s||30|
|19||81||Oscar Piastri||Mclaren Mercedes||1:30.964||+1.361s||26|
|20||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:31.052||+1.449s||30|