Norris dislodges Verstappen to top Dutch GP FP2 as Zandvoort traffic problems show

Lando Norris was the man to beat ahead of Max Verstappen in FP2 for the 2023 Dutch GP.

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Lando Norris proved McLaren are back from Formula 1‘s summer break with a bang as he beat Max Verstappen to top FP2 at the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix.

He was just two-hundredths of a second ahead of the home favourite, but Verstappen was comfortably quicker on soft-tyre race pace and will likely feel satisfied with the session.

Alex Albon and Lewis Hamilton backed up their strong FP1 pace by finishing third and fourth, around three-tenths behind Norris.

Australian friendly fire saw Oscar Piastri and Daniel Ricciardo out just ten minutes into the session, as Piastri lost control at turn three and slammed front-first into the wall with next to no runoff area to play with.

Ricciardo took the wide racing line into the banked corner only to find the McLaren hanging over the edge of the track, meaning he needed to bail out into the barrier just yards away from Piastri‘s stricken MCL60.

Ricciardo saw a yellow flag board seconds before Piastri‘s McLaren came into view and sounded frustrated with himself over team radio – he also reported a possible hand injury as he went into the wall still holding his steering wheel. Liam Lawson is at Zandvoort as reserve.

The Belgian GP result confirmed that Williams can mathematically no longer win the 2023 constructors’ championship, which is a shame because they seem to be experiencing a resurgence after the summer break.

After finishing fifth and seventh in FP1 led by Albon, he followed that up in the afternoon with a fantastic third place though Logan Sargeant was down in twelfth.

Yuki Tsunoda was another surprise face in the top five, with Pierre Gasly and Valtteri Bottas also both looking good in sixth and ninth.

Aston Martin took a step back after an optimistic FP1 for Fernando Alonso, he was tenth with Lance Stroll eight and half a second behind Norris, while Sergio Perez was seventh just a few hundredths ahead of the Canadian.

Ferrari didn’t even run the medium tyres in FP1, as Charles Leclerc finished third-last and Robert Shwartzman was dead bottom filling in for Carlos Sainz.

Ferrari hold the record for most F1 victories at Zandvoort but look lightyears away from adding to that this weekend, Leclerc was eleventh over half a second off Norris while Sainz finished 16th two trips through the gravel.

Get set for qualifying traffic problems

The Mercedes run line astern in free practice for the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix | Sam Bloxham / Mercedes F1 Team

The session also confirmed traffic fears for qualifying look well-founded, with multiple drivers forced to abandon flying laps.

With all 20 cars on track, there can be a maximum gap of around three seconds between drivers in Q1 and Zandvoort‘s narrow width means there’s even less margin for error for traffic getting out of the way.

Verstappen wasn’t happy with Nico Hulkenberg‘s lack of concentration early on and George Russell complained that Mercedes had sent him out too close behind Hamilton.

Russell had somewhat similar complaints to his team as he was eliminated in Q1 of the Hungarian GP before the summer break, so that’s something to watch out for on Saturday afternoon.

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, and previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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