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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Verstappen completes Friday apply clear sweep

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Following FP1 earlier than sunset, FP2 was run at dusk in additional consultant circumstances for qualifying and the race, the temperature floating round 26 levels C for the beginning of the session.

Lance Stroll kicked off proceedings on the medium tyre with a 1m32.293s, however this was shortly felled by Carlos Sainz’s 1m31.080s because the vehicles flooded the circuit on the prime of the session.

The Spaniard held the highest of the timing boards for the opening 5 minutes, heading off Fernando Alonso’s 1m31.392s, however Sainz was quickly overturned by Verstappen.

As soon as the Dutchman had logged a 1m30.801s, Stroll seemed to be in with an opportunity of eclipsing his lap time after a sterling opening sector, however his Aston Martin team-mate Alonso prevailed with a 1m30.612s.

Sergio Perez then intervened and posted a 1m30.428s to convey the tempo down, however Verstappen’s riposte was practically 0.4s away from his Pink Bull team-mate. This put the reigning champion again in management for the top of the session’s first quarter, with Verstappen elevating the bar with a 1m29.952s.

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As soon as the early selections of medium and laborious tyres had been shed following the opening 20 minutes of laps, delicate tyre operating subsequently started in earnest as Alonso sought to topple Verstappen’s present headliner.

However his 1m29.985s on the primary soft-tyre run in anger was only a smidgen shy, and Perez’s 1m29.902s on the identical delicate compound was sufficient to put the Mexican on prime of the order.

Verstappen waited till later to do his personal lap on softs, crossing the road on the half-hour mark with a 1m29.603s to place practically 0.3s over Perez, however nonetheless needed to stand up to a late problem from Alonso, who logged a 1m29.811s in one other soft-shod effort.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23

Picture by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

With the instances set, the groups centered on their longer run plans for the ultimate a part of the session, successfully cementing one other practice-headlining session for Verstappen, with Alonso and Perez figuring behind him.

Regardless of his ominous tempo, Verstappen had grievances and complained that his “downshifts had been actually dangerous”, significantly on the ultimate nook, discovering latency within the change between gears throughout his longer runs in direction of the top of the session.

Esteban Ocon was fourth quickest, quickest of these unable to transcend the 90-second barrier – his 1m30.039s simply 0.03s away from George Russell‘s effort for fifth.

Pierre Gasly ensured each Alpines factored within the prime six together with his 1m30.100s, one hundredth of a second quicker than Stroll.

Nico Hulkenberg took his Haas into eighth on the timing board, regardless of being branded a “joke” by Charles Leclerc, who had an early run-in with the German by way of the ultimate nook and located him shifting slowly on the apex.

Leclerc was ninth quickest, with Sainz finishing the highest 10 as Ferrari struggled for tempo, having positioned seventh and eleventh within the earlier apply session.

The highest 11 was coated by only a second, with Lewis Hamilton 0.996s shy of Verstappen’s final tempo on softs, as Lando Norris was an extra tenth behind his countryman.

Yuki Tsunoda beat Alex Albon to thirteenth, though the Williams driver’s greatest time was set on the medium compound of Pirelli tyres.

Nyck de Vries, who was seventeenth quickest, was proven the black and white flag for crossing the white line on the entry to the pitlane – and late on endured a close to miss by way of Flip 1 with Hamilton and needed to take evasive motion.

The Mercedes driver was exiting the pits as de Vries was passing by way of the primary nook, and on discovering the Briton on the skin line out of Flip 2 the Frieslander needed to pull proper to keep away from contact.

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