Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023

Verstappen stays on top as Alonso splits Red Bulls in second practice

2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix second practice

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Max Verstappen was fastest again in the second practice session for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but Fernando Alonso split the two Red Bulls at the top of the times.

The reigning world champion’s best time of a 1’29.603 was two tenths of a second quicker than the Aston Martin driver, who in turn was just under a tenth faster than the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez.

The second session of the day is expected to be the more representative of the two, due to taking place in cooler temperatures under the lights as qualifying and the race will both be. As the session began Alonso was informed wind speeds around the circuit were around half what they has been in the opening hour of practice.

The two Ferraris of Carlos Sainz Jnr and Charles Leclerc were the session’s early pace setters, going quickest on medium tyres ahead of Alonso’s Aston Martin. But Verstappen soon displaced them at the top, setting a 1’30.801 to go fastest of all, before he was replaced by Alonso who went quickest by almost two tenths.

After causing drivers challenges in the opening session, the tightened turn 22 caught out Yuki Tsunoda early on, the AlphaTauri driver appearing to clip the barrier at the apex on one of his early times laps. Verstappen improved to retake the top spot in the session but only after lightly brushing the wall on the exit of the final corner, while Alonso had to abandon a fast lap attempt by running wide at turn 22.

When Perez switched to soft tyres in his Red Bull he jumped to the top with a 1’29.902, exactly half a second quicker than his team mate. Verstappen’s first attempt on softs was thwarted by yellow flags at turn 16, which were frustratingly rescinded soon after they were shown. However, his second attempt was comfortably quick enough to return him to the top by three tenths over his team mate, before Alonso improved to relegate Perez into second.

As usual, the second half of the hour was dedicated to long runs, with Alonso, Perez and the two Mercedes of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton venturing out on medium compound tyres, while Verstappen and Lance Stroll opted to run on soft tyres. With all cars focused on high fuel race runs, there were no major improvements in the timings over this final phase.

When the chequered flag flew it ensured Verstappen finished Friday as the quickest driver in both sessions. Behind Alonso split the two Red Bulls at the top of the times, while Esteban Ocon ended the session in fourth ahead of Russell’s Mercedes. Pierre Gasly was sixth in the second Alpine ahead of Stroll’s Aston Martin, with Nico Hulkenberg eighth in the Haas. The top ten was completed by the two Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz.

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2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix second practice result

11Max VerstappenRed BullRB191’29.60329
214Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’29.8110.20826
311Sergio PerezRed BullRB191’29.9020.29926
431Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5231’30.0390.43627
563George RussellMercedesW141’30.0700.46727
610Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA5231’30.1000.49728
718Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’30.1100.50727
827Nico HulkenbergHaas-FerrariVF-231’30.1810.57827
916Charles LeclercFerrariSF-231’30.3410.73828
1055Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-231’30.5920.98929
1144Lewis HamiltonMercedesW141’30.5990.99627
124Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’30.7211.11827
1322Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red BullAT041’30.7761.17330
1423Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW451’30.8101.20727
1520Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-231’30.8201.21725
1624Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’30.8371.23427
1721Nyck de VriesAlphaTauri-Red BullAT041’30.9211.31829
182Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesFW451’30.9591.35630
1981Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’30.9641.36126
2077Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’31.0521.44930

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2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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4 comments on “Verstappen stays on top as Alonso splits Red Bulls in second practice”

  1. Oh McLaren, I sure hope you didn’t give Lando any exit clauses.

  2. This season might be similar to 1996 – RedBull are the dominating Williams-Renault and Alonso in the Aston Martin is Schumacher who’s just scrapping for podiums in the totally renewed Ferrari behind the leading two.
    Schumacher won 3 races that year, so… ;)

    Reply moderated
  3. This season will be Ver Per Alo in every race and session

    1. Close, but I predict Marko replaces Perez with himself after Baku. Don’t forget, Marko used to be a Formula 1 driver and he’s got unfinished business.

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