Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2023

Verstappen a tenth quicker than Norris as rain hits second practice

Formula 1

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Max Verstappen topped both practice sessions on Friday at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, leading Lando Norris in the second hour.

The world champion set the pace once again in the afternoon, a tenth of a second quicker than Norris’s McLaren. Charles Leclerc was third-fastest for Ferrari, with Valtteri Bottas ending the session fourth for Alfa Romeo.

George Russell, Pierre Gasly, Valtteri Bottas, Kevin Magnussen and Yuki Tsunoda returned to their cockpits for the second hour of running after sitting out the opening practice session to give track time to a quintet of junior drivers. As in the first session, all teams had extra sets of experimental C4 compound tyres from Pirelli to run to help gather data for 2024.

The vast majority of drivers headed out on the prototype tyres, with Norris setting the early time to beat with a 1’20.109, around six tenths slower than Verstappen’s best time from the earlier session. After leaving the pit lane later than most, also on the prototype tyres, Verstappen’s first timed lap was good enough to put him on top of the times with a 1’20.085.

Drops of rain began falling over the pit lane and the final sector soon after the session began. But despite the spits from above, the rain was not enough to affect the track conditions significantly.

Verstappen used the medium compound tyres and posted a new best time of the session with a 1’19.511, despite having to navigate around Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin through the sweeping corners in the middle sector. Leclerc went exactly a tenth slower than the Red Bull driver to put his Ferrari up to second, before both were beaten by the McLaren of Oscar Piastri, who posted a 1’19.163 on the soft compound.

Alonso attempted a push lap but lost control of his Aston Martin at the exit of turn nine, spinning through 360 degrees. Despite his frightening moment, Alonso fortunately avoided the barriers and could continue without suffering damage to his car. It was a compromised session for Aston Martin, as Lance Stroll was stuck in the pits for several minutes as the team was unable to remove a stuck front-left wheel from his car.

Verstappen set out to reclaim the fastest time by fitting soft tyres to his car. He was successful by a comfortable margin, easily setting a new best time of the day with a 1’18.686. Norris got closest to the world champion on the softs, a tenth of a second slower than Verstappen’s best.

The usual switch to higher-fuel runs in the final third of the session appeared to be under threat of being impacted by ran approaching the circuit. But despite more drops over the track, it again failed to escalate into any significant shower. Verstappen’s best time held on to the top of the hour and the chequered flag, by which time the rain was starting to fall much harder.

Verstappen therefore topped the times again with Norris second just a tenth slower. Leclerc was third-fastest for Ferrari, with Valtteri Bottas putting his Alfa Romeo in a surprise fourth place in his only session of the day. Sergio Perez was fifth fastest in the second Red Bull, with Daniel Ricciardo sixth for AlphaTauri.

Lewis Hamilton was seventh for Mercedes, with Esteban Ocon in eighth. Piastri was ninth in the second McLaren – within half a second of Verstappen – and the top ten cars were completed by Russell’s Mercedes.

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2023 Mexican Grand Prix second practice result

11Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’18.68626
24Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’18.8050.11931
316Charles LeclercFerrariSF-231’18.9520.26633
477Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’18.9550.26933
511Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’18.9880.30229
63Daniel RicciardoAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’19.0020.31631
744Lewis HamiltonMercedesW141’19.0240.33830
831Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5231’19.0770.39129
981Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’19.1630.47731
1063George RussellMercedesW141’19.2270.54131
1155Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-231’19.2570.57134
1222Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’19.2900.60434
1324Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’19.4150.72927
1423Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW451’19.4460.76023
1527Nico HulkenbergHaas-FerrariVF-231’19.5350.84929
1610Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA5231’19.6420.95629
172Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesFW451’19.9001.21426
1818Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’20.0751.38917
1920Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-231’20.1121.42630
2014Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’20.4261.74030

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2023 Mexican Grand Prix

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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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3 comments on “Verstappen a tenth quicker than Norris as rain hits second practice”

  1. What is going on with Aston Martin? Alonso ran 30 laps and he is the slowest. Did they stay with the USGP Upgrade?

    1. He didint do a qualy simulation with soft tyre.

    2. Actually, they used the latest update on both cars. And it looks like Alonso doesn’t like it, while Stroll does.
      The upgrade is pointless, of course, Aston are still very slow and have no chance to beat McLaren on pace.

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