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Max opens weekend in Spain in P1

Published on 02 June 2023 by Yannick Jonker

Max Verstappen finished FP1 fastest in the run up to the Spanish Grand Prix. At the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which has just undergone a small change, Max’s teammate at Oracle Red Bull Racing, Sergio Perez, drove the second fastest time, whilst Esteban Ocon ended up in P3 in his Alpine. The AlphaTauri of Nyck de Vries and Alpine of Pierre Gasly completed the top five.

At the start of FP1 it is sunny and the thermometer reads 25 degrees. The track temperature on the changed, 4.657 kilometre long track is 42 degrees. The chicane in the last sector has been replaced by two high-speed righthanders that featured on a previous iteration of the circuit.

Fernando Alonso is the first driver to appear on the track. His Aston Martin is equipped with an ‘aero rack’ to map the airflow around the car. Max has also appeared on the track and his first timed lap sees him straight in at P1, 1.3 seconds ahead of Perez who occupied P2 at the time. Incidentally, he does this on the Pirelli prototype tyres, which will introduce a tougher constructed tyre at the British Grand Prix.

Fifteen minutes later, Max and Perez appear with a set of mediums on their RB19 and improve their times. The reigning World Champion is nearly half a second faster than his Mexican teammate and goes below 1:16.0. Max reports over the radio that his Red Bull is bouncing under braking in turn 10 and the last corner.

Halfway through the session, we see both Red Bulls on the soft tyres and once again improving their times. The difference between both Oracle Red Bull Racing drivers increases to seven tenths in favour of the fast Dutchman, who sets the benchmark at 1:14.606.

With more than 20 minutes to go, to find both Mercedes we have to look at places eighteen and nineteen. Both Ferrari’s incidentally, are ninth and eleventh. Nyck de Vries gave himself and AlphaTauri a confidence boost with an impressive lap that grants the Dutchman P3. With that, he only has to deal with two Red Bulls ahead and has both Ferrari’s behind in places four and five.

In the closing stages the wind increases and dark clouds approach, but it does not rain and with that the first session is over.

Contest GP Spain: win a by Max Verstappen signed Red Bull Racing Driver Cap 2023!

Results first free practice Spain:

1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:14.606 31
2Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:15.374+0.768s31
3Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:15.418+0.812s27
4Nyck De VriesDEVAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:15.504+0.898s26
5Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:15.545+0.939s26
6Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:15.547+0.941s23
7Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:15.689+1.083s21
8Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:15.694+1.088s27
9Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:15.726+1.120s26
10George RussellRUSMercedes1:15.753+1.147s31
11Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:15.783+1.177s24
12Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:15.845+1.239s28
13Zhou GuanyuZHOAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:15.906+1.300s23
14Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:15.915+1.309s26
15Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:15.939+1.333s24
16Valtteri BottasBOTAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:15.978+1.372s23
17Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:16.353+1.747s25
18Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:16.461+1.855s27
19Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes1:16.506+1.900s29
20Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:16.630+2.024s27