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DATA POINTS: What we learned from Friday practice in Saudi Arabia

Staff Writer

Mike Seymour
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JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 17: A general view showing Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving

Red Bull set the pace during Friday practice for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with the reigning world champions lighting up Jeddah’s streets in both session. But will they have it all their own way? We present the key data ahead of the weekend’s action...

Red Bull continue where they left off

Red Bull started the 2023 season in style with a front row lock-out and dominant one-two finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix, and the early signs from practice in Saudi Arabia are that they will again be the firm favourites for honours here.

READ MORE: ‘It’s definitely not like Bahrain’ – Friday practice pace-setter Verstappen braced for ‘very close’ fight in Saudi Arabia

Verstappen brushed off a recent stomach bug to lead Aston Martin rival Fernando Alonso by two tenths of a second during the FP2 qualifying-style laps – and our data indicates that Red Bull’s corrected one-lap advantage is actually a whopping 0.6s.

As for race pace, the longer runs point to Red Bull having a smaller 0.2s gap to the chasing pack, backing up Verstappen’s assertion that “with a low-deg circuit, I think the lap times are all very close, so it’s definitely not like Bahrain”.

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