Max Verstappen continued to set the pace in Jeddah on Friday, as the Red Bull driver topped the timesheets in the second practice session for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, placing ahead of the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso and his teammate Sergio Perez.
After the blazing hot opening practice hour on Friday afternoon, the drivers came out onto a much cooler track for FP2, with the sun having set and the floodlights turned on in what were much more representative conditions to those they will face in qualifying and in the race.
And it was Verstappen – who also topped the timesheets in FP1 – who led the way in the customary FP2 qualifying simulation runs, setting a time of 1m 29.603s, with his nearest challenger, Alonso, 0.208s behind, with last year’s pole-sitter, Perez, who was third quickest, 0.299s behind his teammate.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff accepts the “reality” that their Formula One car is not good enough to challenge their main rivals this season.
At least he knows where the W14′s faults lie.
“We understand, crystal clear,” Wolff said on Friday at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. “There are no miracles in this sport . . . I don’t think we can beat the teams in front of us, that’s the reality.”
Wolff’s comments came a day after seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton said Mercedes was so far off the pace that he would need three teams to fall out of a race just for him to have a chance to win.
Red Bull dominated the season-opener in Bahrain two weeks ago with a 1-2 finish from two-time defending world champion Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
Fernando Alonso finished a surprising third for Aston Martin and Carlos Sainz Jr. was fourth for Ferrari.
Hamilton was 51 seconds behind Verstappen in fifth, and teammate George Russell was 56 seconds back in seventh. Both placings would have been worse had Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc’s engine not failed near the end of the race.
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