Max Verstappen clocked the fifth time in the second free practice for the Grand Prix of the Netherlands. The fastest lap of the Red Bull leader on the Zandvoort circuit was 1.11.264.
The Monegask Charles Leclerc was fastest in the Ferrari with 1.10.902, ahead of his Spanish teammate Carlos Sainz (1.11.056).
Frenchman Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and Finn Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) were also faster than Verstappen. The last free practice session will start on Saturday at 12 noon, and qualifying for Sunday’s race will start at 3 pm. Then the lights will also turn green at 3 pm.
Friday’s training sessions were essential for the drivers to get to know the new Zandvoort circuit. For the first time since 1985, Formula 1 is back on track through the dunes of North Holland. Unfortunately, however, Verstappen and the other drivers were unable to make the most of the two one-hour training sessions.
The 70,000 spectators in the stands watched an empty track for a long time during the first practice. The morning session was stopped for more than half an hour because Sebastian Vettel’s stalled Aston Martin could not be quickly removed from the track. Lewis Hamilton was fastest in 1.11,500 in the limited time that remained; Verstappen set the second time at less than one-tenth of a second.
The second training session, in the afternoon, had to be stopped twice. World champion Hamilton fell silent in the Mercedes after a few minutes. But, for the Brit, the session was already over. The red flag went out again halfway through practice after Nikita Mazepin (Haas) landed in the gravel. In both cases, the delay lasted a few minutes.
The interruptions caused the necessary frustrations for Verstappen. “This is ridiculous; I can’t set a normal lap time like this”, the Dutchman grumbled over the onboard radio after Mazepin had been pushed into the gravel. However, after the second break, the drivers were no longer so much concerned with setting fast lap times but mainly driving longer blocks in view of Sunday’s race.