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Formula 1

Alonso tops the times ahead of Verstappen in tense final practice

Alpine's Fernando Alonso has gone fastest in second practice in Brazil, but most of the focus during the one hour session remained off-track as the stewards continue to investigate Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

Alonso Brazil
To news overview © Alpine

Alpine's Fernando Alonso set the pace in the second practice session at the Interlagos Circuit in Brazil, ahead of Sprint Qualifying on Saturday afternoon.

Alonso posted a 1:11.238 on the Soft compound Pirelli tyres to finish almost a second clear of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Second practice took place in much warmer and sunnier conditions than the first session on Friday, with tension in the air as the ongoing stewards' investigations into Verstappen and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton loomed in the background.

Under the Sprint weekend format, teams are unable to make any setup changes to their cars ahead of Sprint Qualifying. This meant that the one hour of track time saw the drivers concentrating on longer-run pace and evaluating the life of the Soft and Medium tyres.

With his Friday rear wing being impounded by the stewards, Hamilton and Mercedes were given special dispensation by the stewards to fit a different rear wing for the session. As parc ferme conditions have been in place since before qualifying on Friday, this special dispensation was required to allow Hamilton to take part in the session.

The session ended with Alonso leading the way in what was quite a subdued hour of track time, followed by Verstappen in second place. Valtteri Bottas finished third for Mercedes as he climbed the order in the closing minutes on the Soft tyre.

Result Free practice 2 - Brazilian

# Driver Team Time Tyre
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Esteban Ocon ended the session in fourth, underlining Alpine's competitiveness in race specification, while Hamilton wound up fifth in the second Mercedes.

It was a very low-key session for the reigning World Champion who, at the time of writing, remains set to start the Sprint Qualifying race from first place while the investigation into his Friday rear wing continues.

Sergio Perez was sixth in the other Red Bull, while Ferrari's pace saw them finish in front of McLaren. Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc placed eighth and ninth respectively, with McLaren pair Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris in 12th and 13th.

Saturday's Sprint Qualifying race will get underway at 14:30 local time (19:30 GMT), with the drivers set to compete over 24 laps to determine the grid for the Grand Prix on Sunday. Teams can start this race on any tyre compound, and pit-stops are not mandatory.

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Monaco Grand Prix - Free Practice 1