Mexican Grand Prix: Max Verstappen dodges the rain to top FP2

Sam Cooper
Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen topped both practice sessions on Friday.

Max Verstappen made it two from two as he topped the second practice session at the Mexican Grand Prix on Friday.

After a problem-filled FP1, it was a rather more relaxed affair in FP2 aside from the mild threat of rain that bookended the session.

With that threat, put at 20% chance by the FIA’s meteorologist, the teams opted to send their drivers out as soon as the green light appeared in order to maximise their running.

The rain did arrive six minutes in but the mild nature of it meant teams and the drivers, with all 20 regular faces back in the seat after five rookies took part in the morning session, felt comfortable staying on slicks.

As to what slicks they were on, even the teams themselves were not quite sure with many running the Pirelli C4 prototype which is being tested ahead of a potential use in 2024.

On track, Lando Norris took too much kerb in Turn 8, causing him to drift along the tarmac but the McLaren driver held on to avoid any contact with the wall.

At the top, Verstappen set the early bar with a time of 1:19.511 with Charles Leclerc behind him and Daniel Ricciardo in P3.

Fernando Alonso had a close call when he lost the rear end and spun exiting a corner. Thankfully for the Spaniard, he completed the full 360 without hitting anything and was able to keep going. recommends

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It was less good news for his team-mate Lance Stroll who had to return to the pits with a problem on the front left tyre as his Aston Martin crew crowded the front of the garage to prevent prying eyes from seeing the exact problem.

As the session wore on, Verstappen’s early time was beaten by both Alex Albon, who continued his impressive day, and Oscar Piastri although the Dutchman soon snatched back the lead with a time of 1:18.686. As the session approached the halfway mark, Norris emerged as Verstappen’s biggest challenge with the two drivers sharing dominance across the circuit.

Home favourite Sergio Perez was another driver to come close to a crash with the Red Bull man going off at the last corner but he too was lucky and escaped without any incident.

As the clock ticked down to 10 minutes to go, the rain threat increased in severity with the dark clouds looming over the circuit but the drivers were spared from any further downpour.

Late on Albon looked to have an issue with his FW45 as something appeared to have fallen off and was causing the floor of the car to spark on the tarmac below.

But it was Verstappen’s time that was to stay the best as the teams tested their long runs up until the chequered flag was flown.

Mexican Grand Prix 2023: FP2 classification

1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull 1:18.686
2 Lando NORRIS McLaren +0.119
3 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +0.266
4 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo +0.269
5 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull +0.302
6 Daniel RICCIARDO AlphaTauri +0.316
7 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +0.338
8 Esteban OCON Alpine +0.391
9 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +0.477
10 George RUSSELL Mercedes +0.541
11 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +0.571
12 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri +0.604
13 Guanyu ZHOU Alfa Romeo +0.729
14 Alexander ALBON Williams +0.760
15 Nico HULKENBERG Haas +0.849
16 Pierre GASLY Alpine +0.956
17 Logan SARGEANT Williams +1.214
18 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +1.389
19 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas +1.426
20 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +1.740

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