The reigning world champion, who was battling a stomach bug this week, doubled up with a dominant display on Friday to set the pace in conditions representative to those in qualifying and the race. 

Can Red Bull win every race this season?

Verstappen was 0.208s ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin and Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez, who was 0.299s off in third. 

Although Aston Martin cut the deficit in FP2, Red Bull look favourites once again after dominating the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix two weeks ago. 

It was not all smooth sailing for Verstappen, however, as the Dutchman was unhappy with slow downshifts in his Red Bull. 

Esteban Ocon was fourth for Alpine ahead of George Russell, who was 0.467s adrift of Verstappen and the quickest Mercedes driver. 

Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton could only manage the 11th-best time, almost a full second off Verstappen as the seven-time world champion once again complained of a lack of grip in his W14. 

Alpine’s Pierre Gasly was sixth ahead of the second Aston Martin of Lance Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg’s Haas. 

The Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz rounded out the top-10. 

Leclerc has a 10-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race after exceeding his allocation of electronic control units following two failures in Bahrain, while Sainz has also taken a new power unit as a precaution amid Ferrari’s reliability concerns.