The first contact with the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in Saudi Arabia, in the first free practice of the Grand Prix, has left very good feelings for Fernando Alonso, who set the third best time of the hour of testing. The Spaniard, who was third in the first World Cup race in Bahrain, this time fell 7 tenths behind the champion, a Max Verstappen who continues to dominate with an iron fist. Carlos Sainz signed the seventh fastest time.
"Friday will be more test than race and we will see if we can learn something," Fernando Alonso had commented on Thursday at the official FIA press conference. In other words, the Spaniard would go tactfully on the first outing to the Saudi urban track. "For us it's an important test, because we don't know if the car is going to perform as well as in Bahrain," he said. But seen what has been seen, the Aston Martin AMR23 continues to look very good.
In the first free practice session, the green cars surprised again with their speed on a track with fast corners: they were the second team, with Alonso third and Lance Stroll fourth, a sign that the AMR23 is truly competitive.
With all the cars riding soft tires (which makes the comparison possible in a more equal way), both green drivers were just ahead of the Mercedes pair, who start in Arabia a step behind Aston Martin, although ahead of the Ferraris . The star's cars were 4 tenths behind Alonso's Aston Martin, a considerable distance, and 1.1 seconds behind Verstappen's Red Bull. A world.
It was worse for the two Ferraris. Sainz was seventh, 1.3s behind Max and 6 tenths behind his friend Alonso. Leclerc, who will penalize 10 positions on the starting grid for changing the ECU (engine electronic control unit), signed the 11th time, 1.5s behind Verstappen.