F1 – Verstappen quickest again at Suzuka ahead of Leclerc, Norris 

  • gb
22.09.23

Max Verstappen went quickest in the second practice session for the 2023 FIA Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, beating Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by more than three tenths of a second as Lando Norris finished third for McLaren. 

As with the morning session, Verstappen was on track early at the start of FP2 and he set the pace at 1:31.377 with his first timed run on Soft tyres, as rivals chose to focus on the test tyres Pirelli is evaluating this weekend. 

Norris then moved ahead of the Dutchman with a lap of 1:31.152 before Leclerc bounced the Briton out of top spot with a lap of 1:31.008. 

Verstappen was soon back on top as he posted a Soft tyre time of 1:30.668 to eclipse Leclerc by 0.320 and take the bragging rights for the second time on Friday. Norris ended the session 0.464 off Verstappen, with Carlos Sainz in fourth place in the second Ferrari thanks to a time of 1:31.237 that kept him a little under a tenth ahead of the fifth-place Mercedes of George Russell.

After the qualifying simulations the field moved back to harder compounds and longer, race-focused runs for the remainder of the session. 

With two minutes left on the clock Pierre Gasly brough the session to a premature end he crashed at Turn 9, the second Degner curve. The Frenchman lost control on exit and arrowed his Alpine into the barriers just ahead of the underpass on the figure-eight track. 

With his car badly damaged and requiring recovery, the decision was taken to call time on the session. 

Behind Russell, Fernando Alonso took sixth place for Aston Martin ahead of Williams' Alex Albon and the second McLaren of Oscar Piastri. Sergio Pérez and Valtteri Bottas completed the top 10. 

2023 FIA Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:30.688 19 230.517
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:31.008 0.320 23 229.707
3 Lando Norris McLaren 1:31.152 0.464 22 229.344
4 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:31.237 0.549 22 229.130
5 George Russell Mercedes 1:31.328 0.640 22 228.902
6 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:31.492 0.804 22 228.492
7 Alexander Albon Williams 1:31.555 0.867 23 228.334
8 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:31.662 0.974 22 228.068
9 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Racing 1:31.710 1.022 24 227.948
10 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:31.739 1.051 22 227.876
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:31.771 1.083 22 227.797
12 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:31.794 1.106 22 227.740
13 Nico Hülkenberg Haas 1:31.797 1.109 24 227.732
14 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:31.829 1.141 21 227.653
15 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri 1:32.141 1.453 23 226.882
16 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:32.165 1.477 16 226.823
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:32.169 1.481 23 226.813
18 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:32.178 1.490 26 226.791
19 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:32.179 1.491 22 226.789
20 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:32.320 1.632 25 226.442