F1: Verstappen tops Alonso in Saudi Arabian GP Practice 2
–by Mark Cipolloni–
Red Bull Honda F1 champion Max Verstappen put in a lap of 1m29.603s to top the 2nd practice session for the Saudi Arabian GP in Jeddah.
However, whereas it was his teammate Sergio Perez in 2nd place in Practice 1, this time it was Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin who was closest to the Dutchman, 0.208s behind.
The Mexican, who was on pole here last year, had to settle for third, 0.299s behind as the track cooled some 15 degrees-C from the hot Practice 1.
Over his stomach bug, Verstappen means business – and is going to head into tomorrow as heavy favorite for pole.
Esteban Ocon was 4th quick for Alpine, 0.436s behind while George Russell rounded out the top-5 for Mercedes, a respectable 0.467s behind and 1/2- sec. faster than his slower teammate, Lewis Hamilton.
Pierre Gasly was 6th in the 2nd Alpine, Lance Stroll seventh fastest in the #18 Aston Martin, and the Haas of Nico Hulkenberg in 8th.
At Ferrari… Neither driver got a fully clean quick lap in, but even so ninth for Charles Leclerc and 10th for Carlos Sainz Jr. is far from ideal from practice. Add in some sort of reliability problems for Leclerc and his incoming ten-place grid drop, and they have a mountain to climb here in Jeddah.
Worse yet, the Scuderia already changed both engines in their two cars here in Jeddah and it is only the 2nd race of the season. Leclerc and his teammate have taken on new internal combustion engines for the weekend, with Leclerc also getting a fresh MGU-H – as part of what the team has described as “a further precaution”.
Meanwhile, Mercedes-powered McLaren have replaced a host of power unit components in Lando Norris’s car.
At Red Bull, Sergio Perez has been given his second energy store and control electronics, along with a new gearbox case and cassette, and new gearbox driveline, gearchange components and auxiliary components.
Red Bull and Aston Martin look quick, but will anyone join those two in the fight for pole tomorrow? The midfield is looking incredibly tight, with Ferrari and Mercedes looking to have their work cut out to get clear of the chasing pack and close up to the front two.
Practice 2 Results
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda Honda||1:29.603||+0.000s||28|
|2||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:29.811||+0.208s||25|
|3||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda Honda||1:29.902||+0.299s||25|
|4||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:30.039||+0.436s||26|
|6||10||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault||1:30.100||+0.497s||27|
|7||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:30.110||+0.507s||26|
|8||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas Ferrari||1:30.181||+0.578s||26|
|12||4||Lando Norris||McLaren Mercedes||1:30.721||+1.118s||26|
|13||22||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri Honda Honda||1:30.776||+1.173s||29|
|14||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:30.810||+1.207s||26|
|15||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:30.820||+1.217s||24|
|16||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:30.837||+1.234s||26|
|17||21||Nyck De Vries||AlphaTauri Honda Honda||1:30.921||+1.318s||28|
|18||2||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes||1:30.959||+1.356s||29|
|19||81||Oscar Piastri||McLaren Mercedes||1:30.964||+1.361s||25|
|20||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:31.052||+1.449s||29|