Aston Martin debutant Fernando Alonso beats Verstappen and Perez placing his car ahead of the two Red Bulls during the race simulations usually conducted on a Friday afternoon ahead of the Grand Prix. But, analysts suspect that Red Bull are in fact sandbagging and have a massive advantage over the field come Sunday.
Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso set the fastest time in the second free practice session of the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix with a time of 1.30.907, ahead of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull by a tenth and the other Red Bull driven by Sergio Perez also by a tenth.
Behind them, Charles Leclerc, Nico Hülkenberg, Lance Stroll, Pierre Gasly, Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and Guanyu Zhou completed the top ten of this relatively quiet Free Practice 2 session.
More representative than FP1
In contrast to the daytime practice sessions, the night-time session was more representative of the qualifying and race conditions that the drivers will encounter during the rest of the weekend in Bahrain. The teams really started to work on the pure rhythm of the cars, although they continue to hide their game… Analysts suspect Red Bull’s pace could be astronomical but it appears Fernando Alonso in his Aston Martin is not far off.
Mercedes and McLaren are at a similar pace with comparable tyre degradation.
Near drama in the pit lane
In the pit lane, Nyck de Vries – who is making his F1 debut this year with AlphaTauri – was released onto the track just as Lando Norris’ McLaren was coming into the fast lane of the Pit Lane. The drama was narrowly averted and an investigation has been opened by race management. Penalties could be imposed.
Stroll in trouble
Lance Stroll – who is recovering from a wrist injury sustained in a bike crash – is having some difficulty driving his single-seater. The Canadian had to undergo a ‘minor’ operation last week and is still recovering from it. At the end of the session, Stroll struggled to get out of the cockpit of his car and the Aston Martin driver’s ‘body language’ spoke volumes about his ability to continue the weekend.
It would therefore come as no surprise if the Aston Martin team announced later this evening that Lance Stroll would not be able to continue the weekend in Bahrain. It would then be Brazilian Felipe Drugovich – who has already replaced Stroll during winter testing – who would be called in as a replacement.
The hierarchy known this Saturday in qualifying…
We will obviously have to wait a little longer to find out the real hierarchy in F1 for the start of the season, as the drivers will not be at their best until this Saturday during qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix… So be patient and come back to our site this Saturday, March 4, for further updates.
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The next free practice session is scheduled for this Saturday at 11:30 pm (GMT) and will be followed live on our website at this address.
Results of FP2