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Japanese Grand Prix 2023

Verstappen completes Friday clean sweep as Gasly crash triggers early finish

F1 championship leader Verstappen was undefeated at Suzuka in the first two sessions.

Verstappen Japan
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen completed a Friday clean sweep in preparation for the Japanese Grand Prix by heading Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in second practice.

The Dutchman completed a lap of Suzuka in 1:30.688 to beat Leclerc by three-tenths, the gap halved from the opening hour of running.

Lando Norris again occupied third for McLaren as a clearer qualifying picture was painted through simulation running in representative conditions.

Result Free practice 2 - Japanese

# Driver Team Time Tyre
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Verstappen set two separate Soft-tyre efforts to secure his second fastest lap of the day ahead of Leclerc, who recovered from being nine-tenths adrift in the opening session.

Norris beat Carlos Sainz to the top three in what was a second smooth-running hour of the day with little drama to be seen.

George Russell was fifth fastest for Mercedes, with the Silver Arrows finally setting a Soft-tyre run having opted for only the Pirelli prototype and Medium compounds in FP1.

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso was sixth quickest ahead of Williams' Alex Albon, who was again impressive, and Oscar Piastri - who was within a second of Verstappen on his first visit to Suzuka.

Sergio Perez will need to find pace ahead of qualifying having secured ninth in FP2, an improvement of just two places from the opening session.

Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top 10 for Alfa Romeo, edging out Lance Stroll and Esteban Ocon.

Nico Hulkenberg was the lead Haas in 13th ahead of Lewis Hamilton - the seven-time champion one of a number of drivers who asked for underbody checks following a kerb strike at the second Degner.

Liami Lawson took the 15th fastest time ahead of Zhou Guanyu, who was temporarily confined to the garage late on as Alfa Romeo fought an apparent drop in hydraulic pressure.

Kevin Magnussen was twice blocked in the first sector - once by Sainz and then by Lawson - which both resulted in near-misses.

Yuki Tsunoda couldn't replicate his top five from the morning and was ahead of only Pierre Gasly and Logan Sargeant.

The Frenchman brought a premature end to the session with the only major incident of the da, having damaged his Alpine in the barriers at the second Degner.

F1 2023 Japanese Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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