Bahrain FP2: Aston Martin impress as Alonso goes fastest

3 Mar, 2023

Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin made their presence known in Bahrain’s FP2 session – as the Spaniard set a fastest lap of a 1.30.907.

Alonso put himself +0.169s clear of Max Verstappen in his AMR23, with the Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc also significantly behind the Double World Champion. Nico Hulkenberg also set a strong time, finishing in the top 5 for Haas.

The midfield – as expected – looks very compact, with AlphaTauri seemingly at the lower end the pakc this weekend. The few tenths separating the rest of the field could make for a fascinating qualifying session in Bahrain tomorrow.

FP2: Aston Martin impressive in qualifying simulation and race pace

As with every Friday afternoon session, most drivers set fast laps on the soft tyres during FP2 – with Ferrari still struggling to optimise its package.
Max Verstappen’s team radio was very telling, with the Dutchman reporting that “the car is jumping a lot more than in testing.”

Fernando Alonso edged the Red Bull pairing for the fastest time of the session, with Charles Leclerc almost half a second behind.

The telemetry data will tell us more about the engine modes used by the teams – not just the front-runners but also the middield teams.

There would have been some variation in the fuel loads used by the team during their race simulations – altough Aston Martin once again proved very formidable in the hands of Fernando Alonso.

Lance Stroll also showed strong pace – despite his hand injury limiting his running. Once again, Red Bull’s pace is impressive, with Max Verstappen suffering no degradation on the C3.

However, a more precise analysis will be needed to understand exactly the values ​​in the field.

Ferrari focused on the C3 in race simulations, the tyre which challenged the team so much during testing:

Significant work has taken place in the simulator over the last few days to help the team progress – as shown by Leclerc in its simulations. On the other hand, Sainz struggled more in qualifying and race trim.

Mercedes didn’t show the necessary pace to challenge Red Bull, especially in a circuit where the Silver Arrows struggled last year.

Early signs from the A523 point to a good package for Alpine, although Aston Martin’s pace could likely make it difficult for the French team to fight for fourth position.

Further back, looked slightly better than in pre-season tesiting while Alfa Romeo are still near the top 10 places. In general, it seems that lower midfield – likely behing Alpine – will be very crowded this year.

The gap from Gasly (seventh) to Tsunoda (eighteenth) was only 1.1s at the end of the first Friday of the year.

Author: Andrea Vergani

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