Fernando Alonso points out concerning trend after topping the times in FP2

Sam Cooper
Fernando Alonso in the paddock.

Fernando Alonso has yet to decide if he wants to continue in F1 in 2025

Fernando Alonso has warned that despite him topping FP2 in Saudi Arabia, Aston Martin tend to be further up the order in free practice than qualifying.

The Spaniard set a lap time of 1:28.827 to top the times in Jeddah but even if that brought optimism, he suggested history was against them.

Fernando Alonso cautious after FP2 performance

Alonso was 0.230 seconds ahead of P2 George Russell but crucially 0.331 seconds up on race favourite Max Vertappen as the teams conducted the first session under similar conditions to Saturday’s race.

Asked how the car felt, Alonso said it was “good” but warned that Aston tend to be quicker the day before quali.

“I feel good,” the two-time world champion said. “Obviously it’s only free practice. As we saw last year and also in Bahrain, we are faster in free practice than in qualifying. I think we run different strategy, in terms of fuel loads, engine modes and so on.

“We keep our programme ahead. [There were] not really any issues with the car. Set-up possibilities [are] also quite open for tomorrow. But yeah, definitely a good Thursday for us.”

As for where that pace could put him in Saturday’s race, he said he had just “jumped” out of the car before speaking to the media so was unsure how they could go.

Lance Stroll meanwhile described it as ““very exciting” to be driving the car in the high speeds of Jeddah.

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As for Verstappen, he said he was “feeling good” ahead of Friday’s qualifying session.

“The practice sessions today have been pretty good overall,” the current championship leader said. “The pace has been good on both the long and short runs and they have prepared the track well for a street circuit.

“Overall, we learnt a lot and there are always things you look to do better on a one lap performance.

“We know some other teams have a bit more power on the one lap so we’ll look into the data to try and improve our overall performance and extract as much as we can from this.

“Looking to qualifying I am feeling good; it will be tight but we are happy with our performance today and looking forward to tomorrow.”

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