News ID: 113513
Publish Date : 18 March 2023 - 21:56

Verstappen on Top as Alonso Splits Red Bulls

BERLIN (Reuters) - Max Verstappen led both practice sessions for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Friday while Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso prevented a Red Bull one-two at the top of the timesheets.
Double Formula One champion Verstappen picked up where he left off in winning the Bahrain season-opener, lapping the Jeddah Corniche circuit with a best time of one minute 29.603 seconds on the fastest soft tyres in the evening session.
Last year’s winner in Jeddah had lapped in 1:29.617 in a hot practice one, when Mexican team mate Sergio Perez was second fastest and Alonso third.
Alonso, also a double champion and third in the March 5 opener behind Verstappen and Perez, was again in the mix throughout the day.
Verstappen had delayed his arrival in the kingdom as he recovered from a stomach bug but he got straight up to speed, with the only drama being a close shave with the wall at the final corner in the more representative practice two.
“We had a positive day but I think there’s still quite a few things we can do better,” said Verstappen.
“In the long runs I think we all stood fairly close to each other, but it’s more because of managing the tyres...I think the lap times are all very close so its definitely not like Bahrain.”
Perez was 0.483 slower than Verstappen in session one and Alonso 0.208 adrift in the cooler evening floodlit running on the fast street circuit and with soft tyres.
“In Bahrain we were like P1 on Friday and then we were P5, nearly P6, in qualifying,” said Alonso. “So you never know until you go to qualifying.