The 2023 F1 Spanish GP FP2 ended with Max Verstappen leading the timesheets once again in a session that had a somewhat strange-looking pecking order.
It was the reigning champion right on top of the standings with Fernando Alonso in P2 only a couple of tenths down. Nico Hulkenberg was P3 with a time that was only around three-tenths down followed by Sergio Perez in P4.
Esteban Ocon continued an impressive run with a time good enough for P5 followed by the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
In a session that had such a jumbled order at the end of it, what did we learn? Well, let’s take a look.
2023 F1 Spanish GP FP2: Key Takeaways
#1 Max Verstappen is the runaway favorite to win the 2023 F1 Spanish GP
Don’t let the timesheets deceive as it does appear that the teams played around with fuel loads as well as the engine modes to conceal the true pecking order. One thing though that remains as clear as day is Max Verstappen’s dominance over the field. The driver is in a completely different zone as compared to everybody else including his teammate.
For the 2023 F1 Spanish GP, unless something strange happens, it’s hard to see anyone but the Dutchman lead the charts this weekend.
#2 Alpine could potentially have joined the battle of second fastest
It does appear that Aston Martin might clearly have the second-best car on the grid in terms of overall performance, however, there’s also a case to be made of a step made by Alpine.
While Aston Martin in the hands of Fernando Alonso arguably have shown the ability to be a frontrunner when it comes to fighting for that podium, Alpine might just have caught up with the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes.
While Ferrari tends to be a far more competitive car over a lap as compared to the race, Mercedes seems to do the opposite. In all of this, Alpine seems to have found the happy medium where the car is competitive in both formats. It’s hard to be definite for now but Alpine could be in the mix for a top 5 result in the 2023 F1 Spanish GP.
#3 Lance Stroll is struggling
27 points compared to 93 for his teammate must sting for Lance Stroll. What must also hurt is the constant speculation over his place in Aston Martin. It’s not a sugarcoated statement when we say that the Canadian is part of the team primarily because his father owns it but results need to be there.
In the 2023 F1 Spanish GP, Stroll is struggling once again. A time good enough for the bottom 5 in a session where the Aston Martin is the fastest in one of the three sectors is just disappointing. It will be interesting to see how his weekend unravels as things don’t look good for now.
#4 Williams F1 are having a shambolic weekend
Williams F1 are a lovely car over a low downforce configuration. Unfortunately for the team, the 2023 F1 Spanish GP demands anything but that and it shows in the timesheets. The two drivers have found themselves at the bottom of the timesheets far too often this weekend and it does appear that there’s no hiding for the team here.
The 2023 F1 Spanish GP does not look like a race that Alex Albon or Logan Sargeant is going to enjoy.
#5 Tire management could play a major role
Unless we see rain flipping the script completely on Sunday and in qualifying, there’s far too much evidence that the race could see tire management play a major role.
The biggest role that tire management is going to play will be in the third sector of the lap. Even over a single lap, we’ve seen far too many teams run out of tires by the end of the third sector, with the way things are, we could see the same happening in the race as well because of the demand the circuit puts on tires.
More or less, while teams like Red Bull and Aston Martin could prove to be the lead runners, it’s anybody’s game after that and we could see some very interesting gambles up and down the grid. Whether it is wet or dry, the race is going to be very intriguing.