[F1 Dutch GP: Norris pips Verstappen by 0.023s in FP2
Running opened on the harder two compounds of tyre, and the Mercedes duo emerged on top on the medium Pirelli rubber through the first laps around the undulating beach-side circuit in Zandvoort – George Russell moving ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Sergio Perez then found his way to the top with a 1m12.750s on his own mediums, prior to Hamilton’s return to the top of the charts, as Red Bull team-mate Verstappen’s opening lap was baulked by FP1 wall-botherer Nico Hulkenberg in Turn 13.
Perez dispatched the Briton once again, nicely reclaiming top spot with a lap 0.069s faster than Hamilton’s earlier 1m12.713s.
Verstappen then grabbed the early headliner of a 1m12.449s on mediums, prior to a red flag at Turn 3 as Australian duo Oscar Piastri and Daniel Ricciardo suffered separate incidents at the same corner. Piastri hit a snag as he lost control of the rear and snapped into the wall at the top of the banked turn, and Ricciardo followed him into the wall moments later.
The recovery of their respective cars, along with repairs to the barriers lining the corner, cost over 10 minutes of green-flag running. Ricciardo reported to the medical centre afterwards with concerns over his left wrist, suffering a jolt on the steering wheel as the front suspension broke under the impact.
When track action resumed, Perez grabbed a set of soft tyres and fired his way to the top with a 1m11.946s, and was trailed by Alex Albon – who pumped in a time just 0.001s short of his Red Bull replacement.
Lance Stroll then made up for lost time, having suffered a car issue in FP1, and pumped in a time good enough to go top after Logan Sargeant briefly appeared at the upper end of the timing board.
A flurry of soft-tyre times changed the order further; Pierre Gasly moved above Stroll before the Frenchman was usurped by Hamilton, who in turn was supplanted at the top by Lando Norris with a 1m11.330s.
Verstappen was offered the chance to move back ahead of the field but was 0.238s short of Norris’s headliner to draw the opening half-hour of running to a close. Albon then rolled again, slotting in behind Verstappen.
The Dutchman took another effort but was still 0.023s shy of Norris, closing out the quick-fire flyers ahead of the traditional long runs at the end of the session.
These were conducted across Pirelli’s full suite of tyres in preparation for Sunday’s grand prix, as the teams sought to understand the performance of the compounds around the coastal course.
No further improvements ensured Norris’s time remained unbeaten, while Verstappen and Albon completed the top three positions.
Hamilton ended Friday’s second session in fourth, while Yuki Tsunoda impressed with his run to fifth on the timing boards – just under half a tenth clear of erstwhile team-mate Gasly.
Perez ended the session in seventh and a smidgen clear of Stroll, who suffered an off at the start of his longer runs with a skip across the Turn 11/12 gravel.
Valtteri Bottas and Fernando Alonso completed the top 10, clear of Charles Leclerc as Ferrari’s difficult Friday continued following lowly positions during FP1.
His team-mate Carlos Sainz was 16th fastest, albeit only 0.763s off the pace, as the Spaniard had sat out the first practice session for reserve driver Robert Shwartzman.
Sainz had his own moments of exploring the gravel after the first half-hour as he found the limits of the sharp, downhill braking zone into Turn 11. He repeated his eagerness to drive through the run-off into Turn 13 at the very end of the session, moments before the chequered flag emerged.
Newly extended Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Hulkenberg propped up the order of those able to complete soft tyre runs, with Piastri and Ricciardo occupying the bottom of the times overall.