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Fernando Alonso

Alonso sets surprise quickest time ahead of Verstappen

The Aston Martin driver set the pace in the second practice session of the weekend ahead of Max Verstappen.

Alonso Aston Martin Bahrain Test Day One PM
To news overview © XPBimages

Fernando Alonso set the pace in the second practice session of the 2023 Formula 1 season, ahead of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

The Aston Martin driver appeared to add to the anticipation surrounding the team, as he completed a four-lap run on the Soft tyres midway through the session to go fastest from Verstappen by 0.169s.

By comparison the Red Bull driver completed three laps on his quickest run, reporting during the session that it "feels like car is jumping around more compared to testing" over the team radio to his engineer Gianpiero Lambiase.

Track temperatures cooled down to 23 degrees by the time the qualifying runs came through, with Ferrari still appearing to be reluctant to show their true pace.

Charles Leclerc initially set the pace on the Medium runs, but once he made the switch to the Soft's his best lap was fourth fastest and 0.460s off. Carlos Sainz was further back and tumbled down to P14 by the end of the session.

Mercedes struggle during qualifying runs

Nico Hulkenberg made a surprise appearance in the top five for Haas, matching the best lap from Leclerc ahead of Lance Stroll and Pierre Gasly.

It was the first time seeing the Alpine's set timed laps on the Soft tyres, with Gasly and Esteban Ocon half-a-second off the best laps set by Leclerc.

Further back Lewis Hamilton was eighth fastest, with George Russell outside the top 10 in P13 behind Valtteri Bottas.

Russell appeared to struggle with the balance of the Mercedes through Turn 7, running wide on his Soft tyre runs which caused a moment for the Briton.

Aston impress with race runs

Once the qualifying simulations were complete, many drivers switched to used sets of Soft tyres to complete race runs on the tyre.

Alonso appeared to match the times in the mid 1m37s to Verstappen, showing a slightly higher top speed to the Red Bull with 297kph compared to 285kph in the speed trap.

Charles Leclerc also set times in the mid 1m37s along with Sainz, while Hamilton was lapping in the high 1m39s.

Result Free practice 2 - Bahrain

# Driver Team Time Tyre
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