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Max P2 after first day in Bahrain: 'Difficult start of the day'

Published on 03 March 2023 by Mike Motilall

After Max Verstappen finished the first free practice third fastest, the two-time world champion came in second in the second free practice. Fernando Alonso was the quickest in his Aston Martin, while Max’ team mate at Oracle Red Bull Racing, Sergio Perez, ended up P3. On the Bahrain International Circuit, Ferrari running Charles Leclerc and Nico Hülkenberg in his Haas rounded out the top five.

“We had a difficult start of the day”, says Max after the second free practice in Bahrain. “The first free practice was really bad, we couldn’t get a balance. Which was a bit odd, because whatever we tried during testing, somethings were not amazing but not that far out like today.”

Max continues: “So a few things we need to understand. Also the start of the second free practice was a bit difficult. Even though with not having a good reference and confidence in the car, the final run was not that bad. The car felt also a bit more connected. Overall the car is not too bad in the long run. I was quite surprised with the pace we had. I just need to find my rhythm again with the car”

Looking ahead to the rest of the weekend, Max says the following: “Difficult start of the day but I think we went back in the right direction.”

At the start of the second free practice, the temperature has dropped to 23 degrees and it’s getting cooler; it is also getting darker and the lights have been lit. During this one-hour session, the conditions are becoming almost the same like the two most important sessions this weekend, namely qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday. This makes collecting valuable data very important.

When the lights turn green, Lance Stroll is the first one out on track with in his wake a whole host of other cars. Just like in the first free practice, Max is one of the last four drivers to head out on track. The majority of the drivers have mounted the medium compound tyre on their cars. Both Red Bulls are also on the yellow walled rubber. Max does his first timed lap which puts him behind of George Russell in P8. He is almost half a second down on team mate Perez. All the drivers ahead of Perez clocked their time on the soft compound tyre.

During the following laps, Max is able to better his time but struggling to get closer to team mate Perez. Max is not completely happy about this: “The car is bouncing more than it did during testing”, says Max on the radio. Not long after, the current world champion heads back in and his team immediately starts working on the setup of his car. After some twenty minutes, it gets quieter on track. Only a handful of drivers is out and about.  

After 25 minutes into the session, Stroll climbs to P1 in his Aston Martin. At that moment, there are more drivers that are also lapping the track very fast. Nico Hülkenberg is the first one to better Stroll’s time. Not much later, Perez and Fernando Alonso follow suit. Max has also ventured out on the soft compound tyre. The Dutchman seems to be still fighting with his car. Despite that Max manages to still put his RB19 in P2 behind, of Alonso. Perez is two thousandths down in P3, while Charles Leclerc has snatched fourth and is well over four tenths adrift.  

During the second half of the session, the teams shift their focus to a race simulation. This is also the case at Oracle Red Bull Racing. The closing stages of this practice are without any note worthy events and with that the first day in Bahrain comes to an end.

Contest Bahrain GP: win a by Max signed scale 1:2 world champion 2022 helmet!

Results second free practice Bahrain:

1Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:30.907 24
2Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:31.076+0.169s23
3Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:31.078+0.171s25
4Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:31.367+0.460s25
5Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:31.376+0.469s24
6Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:31.450+0.543s27
7Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:31.475+0.568s23
8Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:31.543+0.636s26
9Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:31.570+0.663s26
10Zhou GuanyuZHOAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:31.586+0.679s26
11Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:31.608+0.701s24
12Valtteri BottasBOTAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:31.793+0.886s27
13George RussellRUSMercedes1:31.882+0.975s24
14Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:31.956+1.049s27
15Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:32.024+1.117s26
16Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:32.110+1.203s17
17Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:32.440+1.533s27
18Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:32.525+1.618s26
19Nyck De VriesDEVAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:32.605+1.698s27
20Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes1:32.749+1.842s28