F1: Verstappen tops 2nd practice for Spanish GP

–by Mark Cipolloni–

While Max Verstappen topped the 2nd Practice for the Spanish GP in Barcelona, the gap to the 2nd fastest driver was much closer than Practice 1.

Verstappen’s lap of 1m13.907s was 0.170s better than the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso.  However, it was Verstappen’s lap time in race simulation mode that had the competition shaking in their boots.

Verstappen, known as the ultimate Tire Whisperer, was setting quick times even on worn tires.

“Overall I think we had a very good day, the car was in a good window,” said Verstappen. “Short run and long run everything looked quite good.”

“It’s been a lot more fun to drive,” said Verstappen regarding the chicane elimination. “F1 cars in general feel better at high speed so for me the last two corners are much better to drive.”

Nico Hulkenberg was a surprise 3rd quick 0.,270s behind.

Verstappen’s Red Bull Honda teammate Sergio Perez was 4th, 0.312s behind.

Esteban Ocon rounded out the top-5 for Alpine.

It’s been a relatively clean session for everyone, and that means a whole host of data to read through.

How long might the softs last on Sunday if they get used? Hulkenberg took his for 20 laps around the track, which is a decent effort. Mediums and hards are expected to feature on Sunday – but if tire degradation is higher than expected and a two-stop or three-stop strategy comes into play, soft tire degradation will be key.

Fernando Alonso 2nd and once again his teammate Lance Stroll is way behind in 18th.  It may be time for father Lawrence Stroll to have a heart-to-heart talk with his son and suggest he consider an alternate career. Perhaps a low-level management job in the team.

Mercedes’ George Russell, who had been trying out prototype Pirelli tyres for much of the first session, ended up eighth after being 10th in practice one, with seven times world champion team mate Lewis Hamilton 11th.

“I would say it was a difficult day one,” said Hamilton, without showing much enthusiasm and leaving a lot unsaid. “I think just getting on top of the tyres and the deg (degradation). The car feels like a car.

“I think the long run pace didn’t look terrible and we’ve just got to work and try and figure out how to extract more on a single lap.

“I think from the pace I had today it’s a struggle for me currently to get into the top 10. But hopefully we’ll do some changes overnight.”

Practice 2 Results

1 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda 1:13.907 +0.000s 33
2 14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes 1:14.077 +0.170s 29
3 27 Nico Hulkenberg Haas Ferrari 1:14.177 +0.270s 30
4 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing Honda 1:14.219 +0.312s 29
5 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault 1:14.242 +0.335s 29
6 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:14.246 +0.339s 31
7 55 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:14.274 +0.367s 31
8 63 George Russell Mercedes 1:14.392 +0.485s 30
9 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari 1:14.448 +0.541s 31
10 10 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault 1:14.457 +0.550s 28
11 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:14.549 +0.642s 30
12 81 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes 1:14.583 +0.676s 29
13 24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo Ferrari 1:14.585 +0.678s 28
14 4 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes 1:14.694 +0.787s 29
15 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:14.713 +0.806s 23
16 21 Nyck De Vries AlphaTauri Honda 1:14.785 +0.878s 32
17 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda 1:14.840 +0.933s 33
18 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes 1:15.010 +1.103s 30
19 23 Alexander Albon Williams Mercedes 1:15.056 +1.149s 31
20 2 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes 1:15.415 +1.508s 32
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