Max Verstappen, always him. The 2-times world champion was the star of the first 2 free practice sessions of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the second round of the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship.
Max picked up where he left off in Sakhir, from first position and the feeling that he is still the big, and possibly the only, favorite this weekend as well.
At the end of the second free practice session in Jeddah, however, the Dutchman stated that in his opinion the delay of his opponents is less than that seen 2 weeks ago in Bahrain. Now the group is much more compact, although the RB19s are still ahead of everyone without hiding too much.
“We’re closer to each other, but it’s more for tire management. At the moment they don’t let you push here, so with a low-degraded circuit I think the lap times are all very close. things are certainly not those seen in Bahrain”.
Sergio Perez, with his third time of the day, has done nothing but confirm the goodness of the RB19. However, at the end of the day he spoke of an (unspecified) mechanical problem that slowed him down during the day.
“We had a mechanical problem with the RB19,” explained the Mexican. “Hopefully we can sort that out for tomorrow and have more pace and at least have a better idea of where we are with the car.”
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
“It was difficult to get a correct reading of the car today, but overall we look strong. However, the competition is there as we expected,” concluded the Red Bull driver.
The statements of the Red Bull drivers are pre-tactical. Today’s situation showed a competitive Mercedes – but more than 4 tenths behind – only with George Russell, while Lewis Hamilton is 11th, just under 1 second behind Verstappen.
The Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. were instead the subject of various tests due to the good number of innovations brought to Jeddah. The two did not go beyond the ninth and tenth time, 7 and 9 tenths behind Verstappen.
In short, the only rival so far credited with being able to worry at least one of the two Milton Keynes cars on the flying lap is still Fernando Alonso. The Asturian of Aston Martin Racing is second, 2 tenths from the 2-time world champion and seems to be able to play the same role he played in Sakhir. The only bogeyman for a team that, in recent months, is bordering on perfection.
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