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Max ends Friday in Djedda in fourth: 'Really enjoyed the circuit'

Published on 03 December 2021 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen finished the Friday of the first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in fourth. Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas set the pace around the fast Jeddah Corniche Circuit. Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly completed the top three.

“I really enjoyed this exciting Djedda circuit today”, said Max after FP2. “We’ve started the weekend well, but there is still a lot to learn.”

At the start of the second Friday practice session, the sun has set and the artificial light has lid up the circuit. Similar to the morning session, Max is off to a good start by setting the fastest time on his first flying lap. He continues his form with another faster lap, whilst the Mercedes appear to struggle on the medium Pirellis.

At the halfway point, the teams start to focus on qualifying runs with their drivers switching to the soft Pirelli tyres. Max is not able to make the most of the fresh rubber; after abandoning his first flying lap, he is unable to set a time he is happy with during his second attempt. The Dutchman tells the team that he has issues with the temperature of the front tyres.

In the meantime, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have taken charge of the session by topping the leader boards.

With twenty minutes on the clock, most drivers are back in the pits as the teams prepare for the final quarter of the session. In the closing stages, Mercedes have sent their drivers out on alternative programs with Bottas pounding round on the softs and Hamilton using the medium Pirellis. Red Bull Racing respond by sending both Perez and Max out on the mediums.

In the final five minutes, the session is red-flagged after Charles Leclerc crashes heavily in turn 22. Fortunately, the Ferrari driver is able to climb out of the wreckage unharmed, but the incident does mark the end of the session.

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Results second free practice Saudi-arabia:

1Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:29.018 22
2Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes1:29.079+0.061s23
3Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda1:29.099+0.081s22
4Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1:29.213+0.195s20
5Fernando AlonsoALOAlpine Renault1:29.441+0.423s21
6Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:29.555+0.537s22
7Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:29.589+0.571s24
8Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda1:29.597+0.579s20
9Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda1:29.768+0.750s22
10Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:29.772+0.754s23
11Daniel RicciardoRICMcLaren Mercedes1:29.968+0.950s22
12Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:30.004+0.986s19
13Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:30.110+1.092s23
14Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:30.276+1.258s24
15Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:30.442+1.424s22
16Sebastian VettelVETAston Martin Mercedes1:30.502+1.484s22
17George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes1:30.506+1.488s24
18Mick SchumacherMSCHaas Ferrari1:30.652+1.634s20
19Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes1:31.039+2.021s23
20Nikita MazepinMAZHaas Ferrari1:31.629+2.611s20