Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023

Verstappen still fastest but Alonso comes closest in second practice

2023 Spanish Grand Prix second practice

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Max Verstappen remained at the top of the times in second practice for the Spanish Grand Prix, but Fernando Alonso got within two tenths of as second of him.

Only Verstappen’s Red Bull lapped under the 1’14 barrier on Friday as he ended the second session quickest of all. Alonso was just 0.170s slower than the Red Bull in second, while Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg surprisingly posted the third-fastest time.

Despite the ominous clouds heading towards the circuit at the end of the opening hour of practice, the second session began with clear conditions and no sign of rain affecting running. Conditions were similar to how the earlier session had ended, with the track starting to cool slowly as running began.

As in the opening session, teams were permitted to run prototype Pirelli tyres that are due to be introduced at the British Grand Prix as race tyres. Red Bull, Aston Martin and Mercedes sent both of their drivers out on the prototype tyres to begin with, while Ferrari opted to send Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr out on soft tyres straight away, both now running the updated bodywork on the SF-23.

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023
Hulkenberg produced the surprise performance of second practice
Sainz quickly improved on the team’s best from the opening session, setting a 1’14.999 to go fastest of all, while team mate Leclerc were just over two tenths slower, putting his Ferrari into second place. George Russell, who had suffered from porpoising in the opening session, continued to complain about bouncing in his Mercedes through the high speed right handers of turns three and nine.

Verstappen switched from the prototype tyres to a set of mediums and jumped to the front of the times with a 1’14.968, fractionally quicker than Sainz. Determined to reclaim the top spot, Sainz took a new set of softs and took almost seven tenths off Verstappen to move back into first place. But it did not last long, however, as team mate Leclerc beat him by almost three hundredths of a second.

Verstappen fitted another set of soft tyres and moved back to the top of the times sheet with the first lap under 1’14 of the day. Fernando Alonso attempted a push lap on softs and moved up to second place, but was over a tenth off Verstappen’s best.

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023
Gallery: 2023 Spanish Grand Prix practice in pictures
After the half way stage of the session, focus turned to longer, higher-fuel runs. Verstappen ventured out for a run on the medium tyres, while most of his rivals decided to run on the soft. Verstappen then pittedto switch onto the red marked tyre himself as the entire field continued to conduct race simulation runs in the final third of the session.

There were no improvements in the final part of the session, meaning that Verstappen retained his position at the top of the times. Alonso was second, 0.170s behind the championship leader, followed by Hulkenberg

Sergio Perez was fourth in the second Red Bull, with Esteban Ocon fifth for Alpine. The two Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz were sixth and seventh ahead of Russell’s Mercedes. Valtteri Bottas and Pierre Gasly were the final cars in the top ten as the session came to a close.

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2023 Spanish Grand Prix second practice result

Position Number Driver Team Model Time Gap Laps
1 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda RBPT RB19 1’13.907 33
2 14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR23 1’14.077 0.170 29
3 27 Nico Hulkenberg Haas-Ferrari VF-23 1’14.177 0.270 31
4 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda RBPT RB19 1’14.219 0.312 29
5 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault A523 1’14.242 0.335 29
6 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-23 1’14.246 0.339 31
7 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Ferrari SF-23 1’14.274 0.367 31
8 63 George Russell Mercedes W14 1’14.392 0.485 31
9 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari C43 1’14.448 0.541 31
10 10 Pierre Gasly Alpine-Renault A523 1’14.457 0.550 28
11 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 1’14.549 0.642 30
12 81 Oscar Piastri McLaren-Mercedes MCL60 1’14.583 0.676 29
13 24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo-Ferrari C43 1’14.585 0.678 28
14 4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes MCL60 1’14.694 0.787 29
15 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari VF-23 1’14.713 0.806 23
16 21 Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT AT04 1’14.785 0.878 33
17 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT AT04 1’14.840 0.933 34
18 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR23 1’15.010 1.103 30
19 23 Alexander Albon Williams-Mercedes FW45 1’15.056 1.149 31
20 2 Logan Sargeant Williams-Mercedes FW45 1’15.415 1.508 32

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2023 Spanish 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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1 comments on “Verstappen still fastest but Alonso comes closest in second practice”

  1. And of course this may have some effect
    Verstappen and Perez’s cars will be given new Internal Combustions Engines (ICE), Turbochargers (TC), Motor Generator Unit – Heat (MGU-H) and Motor Generator Unit – Kinetic (MGU-K).

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