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Max third in rainy FP2: 'It'll work out'

Published on 31 March 2023 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen clocked the third fastest time in the second practice session of the Australian Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso was quickest after setting the session’s best time in the opening five minutes of practice. Due to rain, the Spaniard’s effort remained unchallenged. Ferrari’s Charles in P2 split the Aston Martin and Oracle Red Bull Racing drivers to complete the top three.

“There was little grip and the surface here is slippery, similar to last year”, explained Max after Friday practice. “It’s difficult to get the tyres working so it’s difficult to push straight out of the box. We never really found a rhythm with the red flags in FP1. But tonight, we’ll look at the data and determine what we can do tomorrow to make the right choices.”

The Dutchman added: “The car did feel good, although it’s difficult to call at this stage. We never really got into a window where I felt we had full control of the tyres. We’ll do some studying tonight and it’ll work out. Tomorrow will probably be dry so that’s what we’ll focus on.”

The reigning champ also reassured his fans he was feeling well, after struggling with his fitness at the last Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia. “It’s going well. This is how you want to feel and it’s important to go well into the weekend.”

At the start of the session it is busy out on track. With the weather forecast predicting light rain at the start and heavy rain at the end of practice, the teams are keen to get in as many laps as possible.

Although there is a light drizzle in the first minutes of the session, the circuit is still suitable for slicks with Max opting to run the mediums. His first timed effort (1:19.7) grants the Dutchman P1, but he is quickly usurped by Fernando Alonso, who sets the quickest lap of the session in the Aston Martin. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc soon splits the two, to obtain P2.

As the rain intensifies, less drivers are out on track and the lap times are no longer bettered. At the twenty minute mark the track is deserted with the slick tyres no longer an option.

At the halfway mark the teams start sending their drivers back on track sporting intermediates. The conditions are treacherous with several drivers struggling to keep their cars on track, but without any damage caused.

Although the rain clears in the closing five minutes of the session, the times set in the opening stages remain the benchmark, meaning Fernando Alonso ends FP2 in first place.

Contest Australian GP: win a by Max Verstappen signed World Champion 2022 cap!

Results second free practice Australia:

1Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:18.887 13
2Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:19.332+0.445s10
3Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:19.502+0.615s12
4George RussellRUSMercedes1:19.672+0.785s20
5Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:19.695+0.808s12
6Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:19.725+0.838s12
7Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:20.083+1.196s15
8Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:20.176+1.289s20
9Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:20.194+1.307s19
10Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:20.206+1.319s12
11Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:20.220+1.333s18
12Valtteri BottasBOTAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:20.312+1.425s22
13Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:20.323+1.436s17
14Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:20.380+1.493s24
15Zhou GuanyuZHOAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:20.470+1.583s22
16Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:20.579+1.692s15
17Nyck De VriesDEVAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:20.600+1.713s8
18Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:21.182+2.295s18
19Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:21.266+2.379s18