Alonso outpaces Red Bull duo to high second F1 follow

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso beat Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez to the highest spot in second follow for Formula 1’s 2023 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was fourth in a session the place the highest 13 drivers completed inside one second of one another, the Mercedes drivers have been locked within the pack and Nico Hulkenberg produced a starring effort for Haas.

With the temperatures down 5C to 22C within the night working beneath lights, a number of groups instantly headed out on the gentle tyres they’d eschewed within the scorching FP1 working earlier on Friday afternoon.

This included Alpine, with Esteban Ocon utilizing the softs to pop in a 1m32.415s that demoted Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, who had set the first-place benchmark at 1m33.624s on the mediums a number of moments earlier.

The Ferrari drivers then flashed via to shut out the one-hour session’s first 5 minutes with their first runs on the softs – Sainz taking pictures into first place with a 1m31.843s earlier than Leclerc surged forward on a 1m31.843s, gaining time on his team-mate throughout the second half of the lap.

Leclerc’s time stood because the quickest for 20 minutes, the next that includes a number of shut calls between drivers as Perez needed to jink left and keep away from Leclerc’s rear when coming throughout the Ferrari on the Turn 8, downhill hairpin, whereas McLaren’s Oscar Piastri had a pair of the lock-ups at Turn 1.

The first got here after Piastri had tried to outdrag Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri down the principle straight earlier than they came across Stroll going slowly forward of the right-hand hairpin in the course of the observe, with the McLaren diving proper however snatching his proper entrance brake as he did so.

A number of moments later, Piastri went off on the similar spot having caught the flat spot on this proper entrance tyre sustained within the first incident, which resulted in McLaren bringing him in for contemporary rubber.

The second spherical of efficiency runs kicked off approaching the 25-minute mark, with Carlos Sainz getting nearer to Leclerc’s main time however failing to raised it earlier than Stroll appeared for the primary time on the softs.

He nipped forward of the Ferraris with a 1m31.450s earlier than being shuffled down a number of moments later by Haas’s Hulkenberg, who produced a 1m31.376s.

But that solely lasted because the benchmark for a number of moments as Perez shot into first place with Red Bull’s first run on the softs, the Mexican driver setting a 1m31.078s that Leclerc couldn’t match, his second softs flier coming in 0.289s to Perez.

But each have been shuffled again, first by Alonso, who popped in a 1m30.907s that stood because the main time to the top of the session.

Then got here Verstappen, who was of the leaders to suit the softs having been complaining his RB19 was “leaping round much more than in testing” additionally in Bahrain every week in the past.

He beat Perez and Leclerc however couldn’t outpace Alonso, Verstappen solely setting a purple sector within the center third and ending up 0.169s behind the Spaniard’s effort.

The pack then headed again to the pits earlier than finishing the ultimate third of the session with the standard late-FP2 long-run data-gathering workouts.

These featured Alonso locking up closely and going off on the Turns 9/10 double left advanced initially of his race simulation, whereas his team-mate revealed he couldn’t comply with Aston’s recommendation to “compromise” Turn 1’s exit to have a wider, higher line via Turn 2 because of his injured left hand.

Stroll was noticed taking his left hand off his steering wheel as he braked for the primary nook, and handing over with that hand’s palm pushing the wheel as a substitute of merely turning within the typical style.

Behind the highest 4 come the session’s finish, Hulkenberg’s softs flier ended up being adequate for fifth forward of Stroll, Pierre Gasly and Lewis Hamilton, who was 0.636s behind the highest spot held by his former McLaren team-mate.

Lando Norris and Zhou Guanyu rounded out the highest 10 forward of Ocon, Valtteri Bottas and George Russell within the second Mercedes, the Briton needing his workforce to verify his ground after working large over the kerbs exiting the quick, downhill right-left of Turns 6-7 and approaching the Turn 8 hairpin.

Sainz’s second flier on the softs was pushed all the way in which all the way down to 14th, with the Spaniard the primary driver to complete past the one-second hole to Alonso.

Now FP2 has concluded, the stewards will examine a pitlane incident from the midway stage the place Norris needed to stamp on his brakes in response to Nyck de Vries’s AlphaTauri being launched into his path.

De Vries completed nineteenth in his first FP2 look for Red Bull’s sister squad.


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