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Alonso tops FP2 timesheets in Jeddah


Ahead of today's second, and more representative session, the air temperature is 25 degrees C, while the track temperature is 31 degrees.

The wind, which caused problems earlier, especially in the final corner, has eased significantly.

Max Verstappen was quickest earlier, ahead of Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

It was a particularly strong performance from Sainz who has been unwell since arriving in Saudi Arabia ad was only confirmed by Ferrari in the minutes before the start of the session.

As was the case last week, with this being a night race, this opening session and FP3 tomorrow are unrepresentative of the conditions to be experienced in qualifying and the race, therefore the next hour should give us some insight to the pecking order here.

In terms of updates, Red Bull has a new Coke/Engine Cover, Rear Wing and Beam Wing, while Mercedes has a new Rear Corner and Ferrari a new Beam Wing and the Rear Wing carried over from the 2023 car and specific to
lower downforce tracks.

McLaren has a new Rear Wing and Beam Wing, while Aston Martin has a new Front Corner and Rear Wing, and Williams a new Beam Wing and Front Corner.

RB has a new Coke/Engine Cover, Cooling Louvres, Front Wing and Rear Wing, while Alpine, Stake and Haas have no updates.

As the lights are about to go green Race Control announces that the start is delayed, though it is not clear why. It is subsequently claims that it has something to do with the bolts on the drain covers in the pitlane.

At 20:1 the lights go green and Piastri leads the way, followed by Albon, Gasly, Zhou and Bottas. As more drivers emerge it is mostly hards and mediums though Tsunoda has opted for softs.

Carrying too much speed, Bottas has an early spin at Turn 1 ahead of his first flying lap.

In no time at all, all 20 drivers are on track with Ricciardo also on softs.

Piastri gets things underway with a 32.956, but Verstappen responds with a 30.447.

A 30.427 sees Perez go top as Alonso goes third, ahead of Stroll, Tsunoda, Leclerc and Norris.

As Russell pits, without posting a time, Ricciardo goes fourth with a 30.781 on the softs.

No sooner has Stroll gone second with a 30.438, than his teammate bangs in a 29.846.

Norris goes second with a 30.160, as the soft-shod RB pair drop to 7th and 8th.

Leclerc goes second, 0.189s off the pace, and Gasly seventh.

Sargeant has to take drastic avoiding action after coming across a very slow Hamilton.

"What Hamilton did there was super dangerous, he was in the middle and should have got out of the way" says Sainz as Race Control confirms that the incident has been noted.

A 29.543 from Verstappen as Russell reports that his car is unstable at high speed. The Briton subsequently improves to fifth with a 29.935.

Having gone quickest in S2, Piastri dives into the pits.

With 36 minutes remaining the drivers begin to switch to softs.

"I don't have grip in the car," sighs Verstappen.

Quickest in the first and final sectors, Alonso goes top with a 28.827, as Magnussen goes tenth with a 30.156.

Leclerc hoes second (29.180) and Tsunoda fifth (29.666), however the Japanese is demoted when Stroll goes third with a 29.336.

A 29.300 sees Perez go third.

"Too much bottoming still, it's not good," reports Norris.

Albon improves to eleventh and his teammate twelfth.

Verstappen posts PBs in the first two sectors, finally crossing the line at 29.158 to go third on what was his second flyer on that set of softs.

Gasly goes sixth and Zhou eleventh, but both are demoted when Russell claims fourth weith a 29.208.

"Too much understeer through 9," reports Sargeant.

Hamilton goes seventh with a 29.504.

"A mess, so bad," says Alonso of Leclerc as we witness yet another example of drivers on slow laps impeding those on flyers... literally an accident waiting to happen.

Following a close encounter with Tsunoda, Russell - on his second flyer - goes quickest in S2, finally crossing the line at 29.057 to go second.

With 22 minutes remaining, Perez - currently fifth - switches to mediums, as Sainz is the latest driver to report a near miss.

Attention switches to Sunday afternoon as the race sims get underway.

Most are lapping in the mid-34s, though Verstappen bangs in a 33.9.

The majority are on mediums, though Leclerc, Tsunoda and Norris are on softs.

A 34.191 from Perez, a 34.221 from Russell and a 34.524 from Alonso.

"The rear is loose," reports Hamilton.

Stroll gets a black and white for a track limits issue.

"I've got no power," reports Hamilton who subsequently pits.

A 34.017 from Verstappen.

Ricciardo has completed the most laps (26), ahead of Alonso, Gasly, Tsunoda and Albon (25), while Hamilton (19) has completed the fewest.

"I'm struggling with overall grip," says Gasly.

The session ends. Alonso is quickest, ahead of Russell, Verstappen, Leclerc, Perez, Stroll, Sainz, Hamilton, Gasly and Piastri.

Tsunoda is eleventh, ahead of Norris, Zhou, Albon, Ocon, Sargeant, Magnussen, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo and Bottas.

A strong performance from Alonso, and while Verstappen looks good so does Russell.

As ever, McLaren don't appear to be showing their hand just yet, Gasly must surely give alpine some hope, likewise Tsunoda at RB.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Jeddah here.


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