Max ends Friday in Djedda in fourth: 'Really enjoyed the circuit'
Published on 03 December 2021 by Stefan Meens
Max Verstappen finished the Friday of the first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in fourth. Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas set the pace around the fast Jeddah Corniche Circuit. Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly completed the top three.
“I really enjoyed this exciting Djedda circuit today”, said Max after FP2. “We’ve started the weekend well, but there is still a lot to learn.”
At the start of the second Friday practice session, the sun has set and the artificial light has lid up the circuit. Similar to the morning session, Max is off to a good start by setting the fastest time on his first flying lap. He continues his form with another faster lap, whilst the Mercedes appear to struggle on the medium Pirellis.
At the halfway point, the teams start to focus on qualifying runs with their drivers switching to the soft Pirelli tyres. Max is not able to make the most of the fresh rubber; after abandoning his first flying lap, he is unable to set a time he is happy with during his second attempt. The Dutchman tells the team that he has issues with the temperature of the front tyres.
With twenty minutes on the clock, most drivers are back in the pits as the teams prepare for the final quarter of the session. In the closing stages, Mercedes have sent their drivers out on alternative programs with Bottas pounding round on the softs and Hamilton using the medium Pirellis. Red Bull Racing respond by sending both Perez and Max out on the mediums.
In the final five minutes, the session is red-flagged after Charles Leclerc crashes heavily in turn 22. Fortunately, the Ferrari driver is able to climb out of the wreckage unharmed, but the incident does mark the end of the session.
|3||Pierre Gasly||GAS||AlphaTauri Honda||1:29.099||+0.081s||22|
|4||Max Verstappen||VER||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:29.213||+0.195s||20|
|5||Fernando Alonso||ALO||Alpine Renault||1:29.441||+0.423s||21|
|6||Esteban Ocon||OCO||Alpine Renault||1:29.555||+0.537s||22|
|8||Yuki Tsunoda||TSU||AlphaTauri Honda||1:29.597||+0.579s||20|
|9||Sergio Perez||PER||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:29.768||+0.750s||22|
|11||Daniel Ricciardo||RIC||McLaren Mercedes||1:29.968||+0.950s||22|
|12||Lando Norris||NOR||McLaren Mercedes||1:30.004||+0.986s||19|
|13||Antonio Giovinazzi||GIO||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:30.110||+1.092s||23|
|14||Kimi Räikkönen||RAI||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:30.276||+1.258s||24|
|15||Lance Stroll||STR||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:30.442||+1.424s||22|
|16||Sebastian Vettel||VET||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:30.502||+1.484s||22|
|17||George Russell||RUS||Williams Mercedes||1:30.506||+1.488s||24|
|18||Mick Schumacher||MSC||Haas Ferrari||1:30.652||+1.634s||20|
|19||Nicholas Latifi||LAT||Williams Mercedes||1:31.039||+2.021s||23|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||MAZ||Haas Ferrari||1:31.629||+2.611s||20|