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Max ends first day in Barcelona as quickest: 'A lot more fun to drive'

Published on 02 June 2023 by Yannick Jonker

After dominating and being fastest in FP1 in the run up to the Spanish Grand Prix, Max Verstappen was once again at the top of the timing sheets at end of the second practice session. At the adjusted Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Fernando Alonso drove the second time in his Aston Martin. Nico Hulkenberg manouvred his Haas into a surprising P3. Max’s teammate at Oracle Red Bull Racing, Sergio Perez, and the Alpine of Esteban Ocon completed the top five.

‘’The track is a lot more fun to drive’’, Max said after FP2 in Barcelona. ‘’Formula 1 cars in general, feel better at high speeds, so for me the last two corners are much better to drive. I tried to follow a few cars as well, and it seemed actually quite ok through there as well. Positively surprised for the overtaking and expect more overtaking opportunities.’’

Max continued: ‘’Overall we had a very good day and the car was in a good window. The short and long runs looked quite good.’’

At the start of FP2, the sun is shining and the thermometer reads 22 degrees. The threat of rain, which was present at the end of FP1, has gone with now only 10% chance of wetness during FP2. Right away it is busy on track with several drivers appearing on the Pirelli prototype tyres. Within minutes everyone has left the pits and is underway.

Max, driving on the prototype tyres, immediately sets the fastest time which a few seconds later is improved upon by both Ferraris. Both Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc are, however, underway on the soft tyres. Max comes in for a pitstop after ten minutes. He swaps the prototype tyres for a set of mediums and has some changes made to the front wing before he continues on his way.

His first sector on the yellow side-walled medium tyres is purple, fhe second is green and the third is green too which puts him at P1. His reaction over the radio: ‘’It was not ideal, but I don’t think I could have gone much faster.’’ After 20 minutes both AlphaTauri’s are both in sixth and seventh with Nyck de Vries as quickest of the two.

A little later both Ferrari’s go out on a new set of soft tyres for a qualifying simulation. Both Ferraris go past Max who is getting himself ready to also go out on soft tyres. When the Dutchman does eventually go out, he clocks a time under the 1:14 mark thanks to three purple sectors. With Max in P1 it is Hulkenberg who surprisingly puts his Haas into P2. Also surprising is the fact that the recently introduced updates at Mercedes don’t appear to be delivering the result wished for. With positions six and ten, it will leave Brackley scratching their heads.

After a short visit to the pits Max goes out on a used set of medium tyres for a race simulation. Something we see happening with more drivers. With 20 minutes to go, the top 17 are within a second with Logan Sargeant a second and a half behind Verstappen.

Just like in FP1 we see clouds coming in the second part. However, it does not seem to mount to a shower before the end of the session. After a short visit to the pits Max changes his mediums for a set of used soft tyres to continue his race simulations. Meanwhile, George Russell reports drops of rain in turn nine.

In the closing stages the rain does not continue and we see no time improvements anymore. With that the second session fizzles out and concludes the first day in Barcelona.

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

Results second free practice Spain:

1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:13.907 33
2Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:14.077+0.170s29
3Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:14.177+0.270s30
4Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:14.219+0.312s29
5Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:14.242+0.335s29
6Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:14.246+0.339s31
7Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:14.274+0.367s31
8George RussellRUSMercedes1:14.392+0.485s30
9Valtteri BottasBOTAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:14.448+0.541s31
10Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:14.457+0.550s28
11Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:14.549+0.642s30
12Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:14.583+0.676s29
13Zhou GuanyuZHOAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:14.585+0.678s28
14Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:14.694+0.787s29
15Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:14.713+0.806s23
16Nyck De VriesDEVAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:14.785+0.878s32
17Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:14.840+0.933s33
18Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:15.010+1.103s30
19Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:15.056+1.149s31
20Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes1:15.415+1.508s32