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Max third after opening day in Jeddah: 'It went well'

Published on 07 March 2024 by Stefan Meens

After being quickest in the opening practice session of the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, Max Verstappen finished Thursday’s FP2 in third place. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) was quickest with the Mercedes of George Russell splitting the Spaniard and the Dutch Oracle Red Bull Racing driver.

“In general, it went well”, said Max after free practice at the Jeddah Street Circuit. “They prepared the track well because it wasn’t that dirty. The pace was good, and we learned a lot.”

The winner of the Bahrain Grand Prix a week ago added: “There are always things to improve, like the pace over one lap. I also think the others are using more power, like in Bahrain. But I’m pretty happy with the long runs. Maybe others are a little bit quicker over one lap, but our car really comes alive on a long run.”

The start of FP2 is delayed by ten minutes due to a loose drain cover in front of one of the pit boxes. The issue forces race control to check all the drain covers before the session can get underway. Red Bull Racing are off to a swift start with both Max and Perez setting the pace on the medium Pirelli compound on their first timed efforts.

For his next run, Max heads back out on track on a set of used mediums. After a failed first attempt, the Dutchman returns to the top of the leaderboard on his next lap. The reigning world champion stays in P1 until qualifying simulations kick off at the halfway point of the session.

The first driver to go for pure one-lap pace on the red side-walled Pirellis is Alonso. The Spaniard utilises the extra grip and clocks the quickest lap of the session in his Aston Martin. Max tries to retaliate but despite another couple of fast laps, he remains three tenths shy of Alonso. Meanwhile, George Russell splits the Aston and RB20 to go second quickest.

In the remaining twenty minutes, the teams shift their focus onto long runs, meaning the lap times set during qualifying simulations are not bettered, resulting in P3 for Max after Thursday practice.

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


Results second free practice Saudi Arabia:

1Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:28.827 28
2George RussellRUSMercedes1:29.057+0.230s24
3Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:29.158+0.331s27
4Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:29.180+0.353s25
5Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:29.300+0.473s27
6Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:29.336+0.509s27
7Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:29.455+0.628s26
8Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:29.504+0.677s22
9Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:29.528+0.701s29
10Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:29.594+0.767s27
11Yuki TsunodaTSURB Honda RBPT1:29.666+0.839s28
12Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:29.758+0.931s23
13Zhou GuanyuZHOKick Sauber Ferrari1:29.777+0.950s27
14Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:29.789+0.962s28
15Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:29.901+1.074s27
16Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes1:29.934+1.107s27
17Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:29.985+1.158s24
18Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:30.077+1.250s26
19Daniel RicciardoRICRB Honda RBPT1:30.088+1.261s29
20Valtteri BottasBOTKick Sauber Ferrari1:30.153+1.326s27