FP2: Verstappen edges out Alonso during second Barcelona practice session
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen made it a Friday practice clean sweep by topping the timesheets during second practice at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, but he had Aston Martin rival and home favourite Fernando Alonso for close company.
Across another largely warm and dry one-hour session, which saw the field gather more data on Pirelli’s prototype tyres alongside the hard, medium and soft compounds, Verstappen worked his way down to a 1m 13.907s, another new fastest lap for the revised layout last used in 2006.
However, having lapped three quarters of a second quicker than anyone else in FP1, Verstappen’s advantage over the field in FP2 was significantly reduced, with Alonso only 0.170s back as he looks to give the Spanish fans something to cheer about this weekend.
Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon pumped in impressive laps for Haas and Alpine to end up third and fifth respectively, sandwiching the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez, who lacked just over three-tenths compared to Verstappen.
FORMULA 1 AWS GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2023
Practice 2 results
|1 Max Verstappen VER Red Bull Racing
|2 Fernando Alonso ALO Aston Martin
|3 Nico Hulkenberg HUL Haas F1 Team
|4 Sergio Perez PER Red Bull Racing
|5 Esteban Ocon OCO Alpine
Ferrari continued to evaluate their Barcelona upgrade package, comprising a revised engine cover, sidepods and floor, with Charles Leclerc getting his first taste of the new parts en route to sixth, just ahead of team mate Carlos Sainz, who ran them in first practice.
George Russell was the fastest of the Mercedes drivers in eighth position, a tenth-and-a-half and three places up on Lewis Hamilton, as the pair continue to get to grips with the major updates the team unleashed in Monaco last time out.
Russell was forced to take to the run-off as he approached Oscar Piastri’s slow-moving McLaren into the Turn 10 braking zone, but he made his way back onto the track to continue his programme and gather valuable data for the weekend ahead.
Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and the Alpine of Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10 positions, followed by the aforementioned Hamilton and Piastri, and the other C43, MCL60 and VF-23 machines of Zhou Guanyu, Lando Norris and Kevin Magnussen.
AlphaTauri ended their day in 16th and 17th with Nyck de Vries and Yuki Tsunoda respectively, while Lance Stroll had a quiet session en route to 18th, around a second away from team mate Alonso and ahead of only Williams duo Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant.
With clouds gathering as the session developed, some drops of rain fell on the circuit during the closing stages, but not enough to bring the drivers back to the pits to swap their slick tyres for intermediate rubber.
Teams and drivers will study the data they have gathered overnight before they return to the track for a final practice session at 1230 local time on Saturday, with the qualifying hour to follow at 1600.