Max fifth after Friday practice: 'It was a fun day'

Published on 03 September 2021 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen finished Friday practice for the Dutch Grand Prix in fifth place. Charles Leclerc lapped Circuit Zandvoort quickest, followed by Ferrari team mate Carlos Sainz and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.

“It was really nice to see all the fans in orange and see them have a good time”, said the Red Bull Racing driver after FP2. “The track was great too. It’s a relatively short lap with a lot of fast corners, so it was a fun day.”

Despite only being fifth fastest, Max remains confident. “I don’t think our short run pace was representative of what we can deliver, because after only one lap, the tyres lose performance and my fastest lap was done on a used set.”

“Nevertheless, we’ll work on some things that we're not entirely happy about in the short runs. We look competitive in the long runs, which is important, but we also know that a good starting position is vital. There are a few things we need to understand a bit better to find some pace ahead of qualifying.”

At the start of the session, it is once again sunny and dry, but with temperatures higher than FP1.

Because of the limited running in the morning session, caused by a lengthy red flag, the teams are keen to get out on track.

Just when Max starts his first flying lap, Lewis Hamilton is ordered to stop his car at turn 6, after complaining of a loss of power. The world champions exits his car and the session is red-flagged.

After the Mercedes is removed and the track is opened, Max is keen to make up for lost time and clocks a fast lap. Sadly, he has to abort his lap again; Nikita Mazepin outbrakes himself at turn 11 and heads rear-first into the gravel. The Haas is beached, resulting in a second red flag of the session.

With 25 minutes left on the clock, the green flag is waved with the drivers keen to post some quick lap times on the soft Pirellis. Max improves his time to jump to third, but competitive laps by the two Ferraris relegate him to fifth.

As usual, during the last quarter of the session, the teams’ focus shifts to long-runs in preparation for Sunday’s race. Max heads out on used soft tyres and is posting competitive times. Nevertheless, lap times are not bettered and the Dutchman finishes fifth on the first day of his home Grand Prix.

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Results second free practice Netherlands:

1Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:10.902 28
2Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:11.056+0.154s27
3Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:11.074+0.172s32
4Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes1:11.132+0.230s32
5Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1:11.264+0.362s27
6Fernando AlonsoALOAlpine Renault1:11.280+0.378s29
7Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda1:11.462+0.560s28
8Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:11.488+0.586s26
9Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:11.678+0.776s29
10Sebastian VettelVETAston Martin Mercedes1:11.713+0.811s23
11Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:11.911+1.009s3
12Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda1:11.946+1.044s26
13Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda1:12.096+1.194s30
14Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:12.136+1.234s28
15Daniel RicciardoRICMcLaren Mercedes1:12.157+1.255s24
16Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:12.206+1.304s30
17Mick SchumacherMSCHaas Ferrari1:12.607+1.705s30
18Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes1:12.610+1.708s26
19Nikita MazepinMAZHaas Ferrari1:12.835+1.933s12
20George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes1:12.855+1.953s29