until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Alonso ends Jeddah F1 practice day on top - but isn't quickest in long runs

by Jack Cozens
3 min read

Fernando Alonso put Aston Martin top of the pile in second practice for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes' George Russell and Bahrain GP race winner Max Verstappen.

Two-time Formula 1 champion Alonso lapped almost a quarter of a second faster than Russell and was 0.331s up on Red Bull driver Verstappen's third-fastest time.

And though a self-proclaimed "exceptional" sixth-fastest lap from Alonso in qualifying for the Bahrain GP seemed to flatter the Aston Martin compared to its race pace, with the team also tending to show a bit more one-lap pace in the qualifying simulations in FP2 sessions, the AMR24 did appear to be a more competitive proposition than at the season opener a week ago.

Lance Stroll backed Alonso up with the sixth-fastest time, half a second down on his team-mate, behind the lead Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez.

Perez was comfortably the most productive driver on the long runs in the final third of the hour-long session, completing 15 timed laps.

The Red Bull appeared to be the most competitive car on race simulations in the hands of Verstappen, though the reigning world champion had experienced some difficulty with the RB20 through the final corner on his qualifying simulations, reporting the front end "wants to wash out".

Long run simulations

First five laps, all mediums except for Leclerc (softs)

Verstappen: 1m34.244s; 1m34.339s; 1m33.913s; 1m33.911s; 1m34.231s (Average = 1m34.128s)
Perez: 1m34.941s; 1m34.215s; 1m34.439s; 1m34.318s; 1m34.165s (Average = 1m34.416s)
Alonso: 1m34.618s; 1m34.749s; 1m34.506s; 1m34.710s; 1m34.637s (Average = 1m34.644s)
Leclerc: 1m35.262s; 1m34.647s; 1m34.429s; 1m34.696s; 1m34.220s (Average = 1m34.651s)
Russell: 1m34.221s; 1m36.544s; 1m34.667s; 1m34.477s; 1m34.274s (Average = 1m34.837s)
Piastri: 1m34.747s; 1m34.414s; 1m35.054s; 1m35.185s; 1m35.179s (Average = 1m34.916s)

Of the leading pack of cars, Mercedes' had the least straightforward time on long-run simulations. Russell's times were competitive but his sample set was limited, while team-mate Lewis Hamilton had his run truncated when he returned to the pits reporting a loss of power.

Hamilton was subsequently able to return to the track for the final minutes of the session.

He was eighth fastest in FP2 behind the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, with the top 10 completed by Pierre Gasly in the Alpine - which so far has appeared a far more competitive proposition than in Bahrain - and Oscar Piastri.

Piastri ended the session 0.767s down on pacesetter Alonso, with McLaren team-mate Lando Norris - who complained throughout FP2 of "too much bottoming" from his car, which was audibly noticeable at high-speed - back in 12th.

Practice 2 Results

PosNameCarBest TimeGap Leader
1Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-Mercedes1m28.827s
2George RussellMercedes1m29.057s+0.230s
3Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPT1m29.158s+0.331s
4Charles LeclercFerrari1m29.180s+0.353s
5Sergio PérezRed Bull-Honda RBPT1m29.300s+0.473s
6Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1m29.336s+0.509s
7Carlos SainzFerrari1m29.455s+0.628s
8Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m29.504s+0.677s
9Pierre GaslyAlpine-Renault1m29.528s+0.701s
10Oscar PiastriMcLaren-Mercedes1m29.594s+0.767s
11Yuki TsunodaRB-Honda RBPT1m29.666s+0.839s
12Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1m29.758s+0.931s
13Guanyu ZhouSauber-Ferrari1m29.777s+0.950s
14Alex AlbonWilliams-Mercedes1m29.789s+0.962s
15Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1m29.901s+1.074s
16Logan SargeantWilliams-Mercedes1m29.934s+1.107s
17Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1m29.985s+1.158s
18Nico HülkenbergHaas-Ferrari1m30.077s+1.250s
19Daniel RicciardoRB-Honda RBPT1m30.088s+1.261s
20Valtteri BottasSauber-Ferrari1m30.153s+1.326s
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