Verstappen leads Friday practice for 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – Sports Grill

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Recap of Friday practice for the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as Max Verstappen dominated both sessions.

Verstappen overcame a stomach bug earlier this week to comfortably dominate both sessions under serious pressure from Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez, plus Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, who battled each other in both sessions for the eventual second-fastest lap.

Several other teams meanwhile continued to reveal their position ahead of the second race of the season.

Now, here’s a full recap of the FP1 and FP2 action in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.


(Image: Lars Baron/Getty Images)

As soon as the pit exit light turned green, AlphaTauri’s Nick de Vries led multiple cars onto the straight, but it was Perez on soft tires who set the initial pace in fifth minute with a 1m 32.969.

Perez soon found himself in contention with Alonso though, as the pair set the fastest laps on the soft tires in the opening 24 minutes, with Alonso winning at 1m30.509 in 24 minutes.

Verstappen, meanwhile, took the opener 20 minutes after taking to the track after a delay due to illness earlier this week, and was third in his first run on the soft tires in 23 minutes, but only four minutes later had climbed 1m 30.494 and just 1m 0.015 seconds faster than Alonso.

Consequently, the two-time defending champion sat in first place midway through the session, covering a gap of 0.098 seconds to him, Alonso and Perez.

Verstappen then reduced his benchmark time by five times to 1m29.617 as he finished FP1 as fastest driver ahead of Perez and Alonso, while Lance Stroll, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton completed the top six.

position Driver: team The time
1: Max Verstappen Red bull 1m 29.617
2: Sergio Perez Aston Martin + 0.483
3: Fernando Alonso Red bull + 0.698
4: Lance Stroll Aston Martin + 0.960
5:00 George Russell Mercedes + 1,154
6:00 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes + 1,170
7:00 Carlos Sainz Ferrari + 1.307
8 o’clock Pierre Gasly Alpine + 1.332
9:00 Alex Albon Williams + 1.413
10:00 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri + 1.493
11:00 Charles Leclerc Ferrari + 1.501
12:00 Esteban Ocon Alpine + 1,564
13:00 Nick de Vries McLaren: + 1.833
14:00 Oscar Piastre McLaren: + 1,874
15:00 Nico Hulkenberg Haas + 1,935
16:00 Kevin Magnussen Haas + 1,949
17:00 Logan Sgt Williams + 2.305
18:00 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo + 2.353
19:00 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo + 2.369
20:00 Lando Norris McLaren: + 2.532


(Image credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Aston Martin’s Alonso and Stroll took to the track first, but it was Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz who set the early pace at 1m31.080 as a group of drivers opted for hard or medium tires for the first 20 minutes.

On the medium tyres, Verstappen clocked 1m30.612 in seventh but was then replaced by Alonso and then Perez in the next three minutes, but the Dutchman regained the fastest lap four minutes later at 1m30.058, which he soon dropped to 1m29.952 minutes later.

When the qualifying simulation began, Alonso was 0.033s off his first flying lap on the soft tyres, but Perez was 0.050s faster than his Red Bull team-mate as Verstappen was forced to abort his initial run at turn 13 due to a yellow flag.

Verstappen, however, finished fastest after his second run as he posted a 1m 29.603 ahead of Alonso, who managed to find time to beat Perez’s effort at his second attempt as the trio completed the top three in that order.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was fourth fastest ahead of Russell, Pierre Gasly, Stroll, Nico Hulkenberg, Charles Leclerc and Sainz.

Williams’ Alex Albon was the only driver to fail to improve on the softs, finishing 14th fastest on the mediums.

position Driver: team The time
1: Max Verstappen Red bull 1m 29.603
2: Fernando Alonso Aston Martin + 0.208
3: Sergio Perez Red bull + 0.299
4: Esteban Ocon Alpine + 0.436
5:00 George Russell Mercedes + 0.467
6:00 Pierre Gasly Alpine + 0.497
7:00 Lance Stroll Aston Martin + 0.507
8 o’clock Nico Hulkenberg Haas + 0.578
9:00 Charles Leclerc Ferrari + 0.738
10:00 Carlos Sainz Ferrari + 0.989
11:00 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes + 0.996
12:00 Lando Norris McLaren: + 1,118
13:00 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri + 1,173
14:00 Alex Albon Williams + 1.207
15:00 Kevin Magnussen Haas + 1.217
16:00 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo + 1.234
17:00 Nick De Vries AlphaTauri + 1.318
18:00 Logan Sgt Williams + 1,356
19:00 Oscar Piastre McLaren: + 1.361
20:00 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo + 1,449

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