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Saudi Arabia Grand Prix 2023

Verstappen does the Friday double in Saudi GP practice

Max Verstappen topped both sessions after going fastest in Saudi Arabian Grand Prix second practice.

Max Verstappen completed a Friday Formula 1 practice clean-sweep by going fastest for Red Bull in Saudi Arabian Grand Prix second practice.

The World Champion came off a strong performance in the opening session to edge out Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez under the lights at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

A 1:29.603s effort during the qualifying simulation runs was enough for 2022 race winner Verstappen to cement top spot as Alonso did not initially get a clean run.

Esteban Ocon and George Russell rounded out the top five as Ferrari's poor weekend continued with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz ninth and 10th, with Lewis Hamilton outside the top 10 in 11th.

Verstappen fastest on initial runs

During the opening laps on the Medium tyres, a heavily-sparking Verstappen was immediately on the pace, setting a 1:30.801s.

Perez was able to lower that to a 1:30.428s, before Verstappen asserted control with a 1:29.952s.

When the Soft tyres were bolted on for the Qualifying runs, Alonso was initially 0.6s up on Verstappen's benchmark, but a mistake at Turn 22 cost him the lap.

On the Aston's second push lap, he came across a dawdling Sainz on the back-straight and was forced to abort the lap.

Perez improved to a 1:29.902s on his Soft tyre lap to leave him 0.072s up on Verstappen.

When the two-time champion completed his Soft tyre lap, he pumped in a session-best 1:29.603s - marginally faster than he managed in FP1.

Alonso went for a third push lap to end up 0.208s slower than Verstappen with the trio about a tenth-and-a-half faster than the chasing pack - headed by Ocon in the pacy Alpine.

The Frenchman headed a gaggle of four drivers separated by less than a tenth, with Russell (Mercedes), Pierre Gasly (Alpine) and Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) in the top seven.

A strong performance from Nico Hulkenberg reinforced Haas' single-lap pace as he went eighth quickest, 0.578s down on Verstappen and comfortably ahead of the Ferrari duo.

Ferrari struggles

Leclerc bettered Sainz in the intra-team battle at Maranello, 0.251s quicker than the Spaniard, although the Monegasque was 0.738s himself down on Red Bull.

The SF-23 machine looked a handful, with a brief clutch scare causing concern for Leclerc.

Hamilton was 11th fastest and the last driver within one second of Verstappen on a 1:30.607s - 0.996s behind having failed to improve in a similar nature to Russell on a second push lap in clear air, with traffic proving a problem throughout the session.

Lando Norris and Yuki Tsunoda slotted in behind with Alex Albon 14th for Williams.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Albon the outlier

Albon was the only driver not to set a time on the Soft tyres, his 1:30.810s coming on the yellow-marked Mediums as he out-paced Kevin Magnussen in the Haas.

Zhou Guanyu held a two-tenth advantage over Alfa Romeo teammate Valtteri Bottas for 16th ahead of the rookie trio of Nyck de Vries, Logan Sargeant and Oscar Piastri - separated by about 0.040s.

Bottas had a quiet session and was 20th and last, some 1.449s down on the Verstappen benchmark.

Result Free practice 2 - Saudi Arabian

# Driver Team Time Tyre
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