Bahrain GP 2023
MARCH 3, 2023
Practice 2 Report - Alonso in the Aston Martin fastest
By Peter Habicht
Fernando Alonso brought Aston Martin-Mercedes to the top of the timesheets in today's second Free Practice session today in a cooler climate, as night time fell at the Bahrain Grand Prix, with a time of 1m30.907s, 0.169s ahead of Max Verstappen, and 0.171s in front of Sergio Perez in the two Red Bull-Honda's.
Charles Leclerc struggled with clutch issues in his Ferrari and finished in fourth, 0.460s behind, while Nico Hulkenberg's sporadic appearances as a reserve driver over the past several seasons did not keep him from demonstrating his pace with his new outfit at Haas, setting the fifth fastest time at 1m31.376s.
Lance Stroll, with his wrist still mending, impressed in sixth with a 1m31.450s, but later in the session appeared to have to release the wheel to stretch this right hand, and a few laps later, team communications revealed he was struggling to control the steering of the car.
Aston Martin reserve driver and 2022 F2 champion Felipe Drugovich is available as a replacement if Stroll is unable to continue later in the weekend.
Alpine's Pierre Gasly set a time of 1m31.475s to finish in 7th, ahead of teammate Esteban Ocon in 11th, 0.133s slower.
Lewis Hamilton finished in eighth, Lando Norris ninth and Guanyu Zhou round out the top ten.
Unlike in Free Practice 1, Ferrari, Mercedes, Alpine and Williams all ran soft tires, but none were a match for Alonso as the teams began making qualifying runs about 20 minutes into the session.
Teams continue to optimize their setups for the bumpy Sakhir circuit, and both Max Verstappen and George Russell noted their frustration with suspension settings.
Rookie Oscar Piastri locked up twice while pushing hard on medium tires, and had to pit early in the session for new tires, while American newcomer Logan Sargeant trailed teammate Alex Albon in the Williams.