Sep 22, 2023 at 09:02
Max Verstappen also set the fastest time in the second free practice for the Japanese Grand Prix. The Dutch World Cup leader stayed ahead of Suzuka Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris in the McLaren.
Verstappen clocked the fastest time (1.30.688) on the soft tyres, making him three tenths faster than Leclerc. Red Bull is back on pace, although Sergio Pérez has not yet set a fast time. The Mexican did not get further than the ninth fastest time, one second behind his teammate.
Ferrari and McLaren seem to be fighting for second place behind Verstappen. Leclerc and teammate Carlos Sainz have a new floor in Japan, while McLaren has provided the cars of Norris and Oscar Piastri with the update that was only on Norris’ car in Singapore.
Mercedes is still having a hard time in Japan. Lewis Hamilton did not even get further than the fourteenth fastest time, while George Russell finished fifth.
The second free practice ended with a red flag situation. Pierre Gasly braked with his Alpine and ended up in the tire piles. As a result, the last three minutes of the session were deleted.
Top ten second free practice
1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull): 1.30.6882. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari): +0.3203. Lando Norris (McLaren): +0.4644. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari): +0.5495. George Russell (Mercedes): +0.6406. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin): +0.8047. Alexander Albon (Williams): +0.8678. Oscar Piastri (McLaren): +0.9749. Sergio Pérez (Red Bull): +1.02210. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo): +1,051
New engine for Verstappen
In the first training on Friday morning, Verstappen was also the fastest in the first free practice. The Dutchman has a new power source in Japan, his fourth of the season. That is the number allowed with impunity.
The Dutchman picks up the dominant thread again after his disappointing weekend in Singapore. Verstappen cannot yet become world champion for the third time in Japan. His first chance to do so is in Qatar in two weeks. Red Bull can claim the constructors’ championship this weekend. To achieve this, it must be a point ahead of Mercedes.
Japan GP timetable (Dutch times)
Saturday: 4:30-5:30 am: Third free practice Saturday: 8:00 am-9:00 am: Qualifying Sunday: 7:00 am: Race
Read more about: