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Max also fastest in Suzuka FP2: 'It felt good today'

Published on 22 September 2023 by Stefan Meens

Continuing where he left off in the opening practice session of the Japanese Grand Prix, Max Verstappen was quickest in FP2. The Dutchman lapped the Suzuka circuit three tenths faster than Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. Lando Norris completed the top three in his McLaren. Max’ Oracle Red Bull Racing team mate Sergio Perez finished the session in ninth.

“It felt good today”, said Max after Friday practice. “From the first lap, the car was pleasant to drive and it looks like we’ve had a good day for both short and long runs. The tyre deg is high, so it will be challenging in the race. But it’s a good start to the weekend.”

Looking ahead tot he remainder of the Japanese Grand Prix event, Max said: “Behind me it’s close, the Ferraris and McLarens are near, but we have to focus on ourselves. We have to optimise our performance. If we manage to do that, we should be able to go for pole position.”

At the start of FP2, both the track and ambient temperatures have risen slightly compared to FP1. Similar to the opening practice session, teams are able to run the prototype Pirelli tyres.

Alexander Albon is the first driver to clock a time, but is soon usurped by several other drivers on their first flying laps. Max, sporting a special Japanese GP helmet design, is one of the last drivers to head out. When he does, he is immediately quickest.

Max remains at the top of the timing sheets through the opening half of the session with several drivers gunning for second.

With 35 minutes remaining on the clock, Lando Norris goes fastest indicating that the teams have shifted their focus on to qualifying simulations. Soon after, Max steers the RB19 out of the pits on fresh soft Pirelli tires and regains P1 on hist first flying lap. Meanwhile Charles Leclerc squeezes his Ferrari in between the Red Bull and McLaren to go second fastest.

In the closing third, long run testing is resumed with the teams swapping the softs for the medium  and hard Pirellis as well as a new prototype tyre. It means the lap times are no longer bettered, securing another P1 for Max.

The session ends under a red flag after Pierre Gasly loses control of his Alpine in the Degner 2 corner. The Frenchman outbrakes himself and slides into the gravel traps. Although the collision with the barriers is not severe, the Alpine has sustained significant damage, bring FP2 to a close.

Contest GP Japan: win a by Max Verstappen signed Racing cap!

Results second free practice Japan:

1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:30.688 19
2Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:31.008+0.320s23
3Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:31.152+0.464s22
4Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:31.237+0.549s22
5George RussellRUSMercedes1:31.328+0.640s22
6Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:31.492+0.804s22
7Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:31.555+0.867s23
8Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:31.662+0.974s22
9Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:31.710+1.022s24
10Valtteri BottasBOTAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:31.739+1.051s22
11Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:31.771+1.083s22
12Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:31.794+1.106s22
13Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:31.797+1.109s24
14Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:31.829+1.141s21
15Liam LawsonLAWAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:32.141+1.453s23
16Zhou GuanyuZHOAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:32.165+1.477s16
17Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:32.169+1.481s23
18Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:32.178+1.490s26
19Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:32.179+1.491s22
20Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes1:32.320+1.632s25