Fernando Alonso continued his strong form, going fastest in FP3 for the 2023 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix a with Max Verstappen chasing him hard in second.
Fernando Alonso is still going strong for Aston Martin in the buildup towards the first qualifying of the 2023 F1 season which for now seems to be a Green/Blue affair unless Ferrari wake up and throw the Red into the mix, not to mention the effect of the cooler track conditions come qualifying.
Alonso’s best time was a 1:32.340 and was only 0.005s faster than Max Verstappen who was only good enough for second.
Sergio Perez was third fastest in the other Red Bull, 0.106s off the pace.
It was interesting to see Alonso head towards the pole starting slot on the grid to do a practice start, which gives an idea about the double F1 Champion’s mindset ahead of qualifying.
Friday in Bahrain, and FP2 in particular kept everyone scratching their heads thanks to Aston Martin and their AMR23, which seems to be a decent piece of kit.
Ferrari have kept their powder dry up to now, and we should start to see them unleashing more pace today in the buildup towards qualifying, and not to mention Red Bull who usually improve from Friday to Saturday, that’s not to say they are just sandbagging.
Mercedes are in trouble and they are not hiding it, and it would be interesting to see how they salvage their weekend, while Alpine remains an unknown, keeping in mind they had a decent long-run pace from Friday.
The rookies, Oscar Piastri, Logan Sargeant, and Nyck de Vries have kept their cars out of the barriers, not that it’s difficult to do so in Bahrain, but they had some moments nonetheless, as they get to grips with their first weekend in top flight.
With the track temperatures being in the region of 42C, it was natural that all the drivers took their time before heading out, with Lando Norris being the first to venture and set a time on the Soft tyres.
Norris was followed by the Haas duo, Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen, with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton following.
Ferrari’s drivers, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz also head out, as Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso were still taking their time in the pits.
Sainz reported that the seat of his SF-23 was “cracked a bit” which he also encountered in the past season.
After 20 minutes from the session’s start, Alonso and Verstappen head out on the track, the Spaniard going for a flying lap and shooting up to the top the timing screens at that instance.
Verstappen set his first time of the session on the Hard tyres, and was 0.583s off the pace of Alonso on the Softs, keeping in mind the difference between these two compounds in 1s…