Alonso warns Aston’s practice pace regularly deceiving

Fernando Alonso says Aston Martin will not be overly impressed with topping the times in practice for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, because it is regularly quicker in FP2 than in qualifying.

The Spaniard was nearly a quarter of a second clear of the field in the second session in Jeddah, leading George Russell and Max Verstappen. Alonso was third fastest in FP2 in Bahrain a week ago — behind the two Mercedes drivers — and says it has become a regular occurrence that Aston Martin finishes higher up in the classification in practice than the competitive sessions.

“Obviously it’s only free practice — as we saw last year and also in Bahrain, we are faster in free practice than in qualifying, ” Alonso said. “I think we run a different strategy in terms of fuel loads, engine modes and so on. But we keep our program ahead — not really any issues with the car, setup possibilities also quite open for tomorrow. But definitely a good Thursday for us.”


While Russell was second, Verstappen’s long-run performance caught they eye with Red Bull again showing its advantage in race pace, and the championship leader was similarly unconcerned by Alonso’s headline lap time.

“The pace has been all right,” Verstappen said. “FP2, long run, short run, overall we learned a lot again. There are always things you look to do better over one-lap performance, but also some teams I think they already use a bit more power, like they did in Bahrain, so we also take that into consideration. When we went into the long runs it looked quite nice again, so quite happy with that.

“I feel quite good, but it will again be very tight. I think that is where other people are a bit better than us — over one lap — and our car probably comes a bit more alive on the long run.”

Story originally appeared on Racer