–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|
|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|
|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|