Lando Norris pipped Max Verstappen to top spot in FP2 for the Dutch Grand Prix, with the Williams of Alex Albon rounding out the top three in a stop-start session on Friday.
The session was interrupted by a red flag following a crash for Oscar Piastri at Turn 3, who was quickly followed into the barrier by compatriot Daniel Ricciardo, with the Aussies prompting over 10 minutes’ worth of delays during second practice.
Nonetheless, it was an impressive turn of pace by Norris over his qualifying simulation, with the pack tightly bunched heading into Saturday’s running.
Lando Norris tops FP2 at the Dutch Grand Prix
The early knockings of FP2 were used for the drivers to hope to build on what they learned in FP1, with noticeably less sand from the nearby beach being kicked up by the cars as the track began to rubber in.
A hairy moment for Verstappen came when he was heading towards the final braking zone, being forced to slam on the brakes to avoid a rapidly slowing Nico Hulkenberg, leaving the Red Bull driver swearing on team radio after his close call and the Haas driver under investigation for impeding – which will see both drivers report to the stewards after the session.
But with only 10 minutes gone, the red flag was out after McLaren driver Oscar Piastri collided with the barrier at the banked Turn 3.
In trying to take avoiding action following the stricken McLaren, Daniel Ricciardo locked up and found himself in the same barrier behind his Australian compatriot – taking to team radio to explain he was looking to avoid the other car, adding that he hurt his hand at the same time.
A frustrating end to the session for both drivers, and back to the pit lane for everyone else while the marshals cleared both cars away and barrier repairs were made.
And when the session resumed, it was soft tyres bolted on for most of the drivers as they attempted qualifying simulations around Zandvoort, with Norris sitting two tenths clear of Verstappen after the first flying runs on the softest compound after clocking a 1:11.330, with the Williams of Alex Albon in third.
Verstappen reported his Red Bull car was “doing some weird things” in medium speed corners as he fought oversteer on his flying lap, before improving to go 0.023s behind Norris, while Carlos Sainz took a trip to the gravel after going too deep under braking at Turn 11 on his push lap.
The traditional swap to focus on long-run pace for the final third of the session saw Norris remain top of the standings for the rest of FP2, with the drivers opting to fill their cars with fuel and look to the race this Sunday – with Verstappen’s long-run average looking particularly quick compared to the rest of the field.
It was a session where Ferrari appeared to struggle for pace overall, and Sainz took a second trip to the gravel at the final corner after out-braking himself into the last right-hander.
The fans decked out in orange will doubtless be looking to their home hero as the favourite when Saturday’s running gets going, but the team running in ‘papaya’ showed a turn of speed that could threaten Red Bull this weekend.
Dutch Grand Prix 2023: FP2 classification
1 Lando NORRIS McLaren 1:11.330
2 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull +0.023
3 Alexander ALBON Williams +0.269
4 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +0.308
5 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri +0.390
6 Pierre GASLY Alpine +0.436
7 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull +0.487
8 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +0.505
9 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo +0.527
10 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +0.53
11 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +0.585
12 Logan SARGEANT Williams +0.604
13 Esteban OCON Alpine +0.671
14 George RUSSELL Mercedes +0.679
15 Guanyu ZHOU Alfa Romeo +0.744
16 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +0.763
17 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas +1.074
18 Nico HULKENBERG Haas +1.363
19 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +1.571
20 Daniel RICCIARDO AlphaTauri +1.766