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Alonso mysterious over Aston Martin's Jeddah pace

Fernando Alonso insists he has "no idea" about the pecking order for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, despite another strong practice outing for the team.

Fernando Alonso once again provided a strong performance during the free practice sessions to raise hopes of a podium-challenging performance from the Aston Martin Formula 1 team. The Bahrain GP third place finisher once again appeared to be the closest contender to the Red Bull team, finishing the day in second place behind Max Verstappen. Whilst he managed to separate the Red Bulls - with Sergio Perez finishing third - teammate Lance Stroll finished in P7 and hoped to be able to match Alonso's pace. When asked about the strong showing from Aston Martin, the two-time F1 champion gave a positive reaction, but cooled expectations by pointing to the lower qualifying result of the previous race. "Bahrain we were okay, like P1 on Friday, and then we were P5, nearly P6 in qualifying, so you never know until we go to qualifying," Alonso told media. "We tested all that we wanted to test in the car. I think it's still not an ideal balance, so we still need to chase a little bit of grip tonight, but, so far, so good."

With many expecting that Red Bull would have more of a challenge at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, some may have been surprised to see Max Verstappen top both sessions. When asked if Aston Martin had the second-fastest car behind Red Bull, Alonso reiterated that he thought it would be difficult to read into the Saudi Arabian GP practice form. "I have no idea. I just drive the car and in qualifying I'll see where I am," added Alonso. "But obviously there are a lot of free practices, a lot of days between races, a lot of data to analyse, and a lot of predictions and estimations for you guys to do. "That's the beauty of Formula One as well, but for us teams or drivers is difficult to read anything on free practices."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Spanish Grand Prix - Qualifying