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.”
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.
|1||Max Verstappen||VER||Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT||1:30.688||19|
|3||Lando Norris||NOR||McLaren Mercedes||1:31.152||+0.464s||22|
|6||Fernando Alonso||ALO||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:31.492||+0.804s||22|
|7||Alexander Albon||ALB||Williams Mercedes||1:31.555||+0.867s||23|
|8||Oscar Piastri||PIA||McLaren Mercedes||1:31.662||+0.974s||22|
|9||Sergio Perez||PER||Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT||1:31.710||+1.022s||24|
|10||Valtteri Bottas||BOT||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:31.739||+1.051s||22|
|11||Lance Stroll||STR||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:31.771||+1.083s||22|
|12||Esteban Ocon||OCO||Alpine Renault||1:31.794||+1.106s||22|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||HUL||Haas Ferrari||1:31.797||+1.109s||24|
|15||Liam Lawson||LAW||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT||1:32.141||+1.453s||23|
|16||Zhou Guanyu||ZHO||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:32.165||+1.477s||16|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||MAG||Haas Ferrari||1:32.169||+1.481s||23|
|18||Yuki Tsunoda||TSU||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT||1:32.178||+1.490s||26|
|19||Pierre Gasly||GAS||Alpine Renault||1:32.179||+1.491s||22|
|20||Logan Sargeant||SAR||Williams Mercedes||1:32.320||+1.632s||25|