Camels in the Desert

Fernando Alonso hails positive for Aston Martin on Thursday after dominating FP2 in Saudi Arabia

Fernando Alonso was pleased with his and Aston Martin’s performance during Thursday’s practice sessions at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, while remaining cautious about their prospects for the remainder of the weekend despite their FP2 victory .

Alonso was never far from the top of the timesheet when the action got underway at Jeddah’s Corniche circuit. The Spaniard finished the first hour of testing in second place, just over a tenth of a second behind Max Verstappen in P1.

READ MORE: FP2: Alonso fastest in second tests in Saudi Arabia ahead of Russell and Verstappen

It was then one place better for Alonso in second practice, with the 42-year-old setting the fastest lap of the day with a time of 1’28”827 on the soft tires as the track went accelerated more and more.

After watching closely throughout the day on Thursday, Alonso was asked how he was feeling after his particularly strong performance in FP2.

“I feel good,” replied the double world champion. “Obviously, these are just free practices. As we saw last year and also in Bahrain, we are faster in free practice than in qualifying. I think we’re running a different strategy, in terms of fuel loads, engine modes, etc.

“We are maintaining our program ahead of schedule. (There were) no real problems with the car. The configuration possibilities (are) also quite open for tomorrow. But yeah, it’s definitely a good Thursday for us.

READ MORE: FP1: Verstappen leads Alonso and Perez in first tests in Saudi Arabia

Asked for his opinion on the pace of Aston Martin’s long runs ahead of Saturday night’s Grand Prix, Alonso insisted he didn’t have a read on it yet.

“We just jump out of the car and we have to come here to talk to you, so I have no idea,” he added.

“It’s always great fun to drive here” – Walk around with a smile after the first day in Jeddah

It was also a decent day in Jeddah for Alonso’s teammate Lance Stroll, who finished first and second in practice ninth and sixth respectively, although the Canadian received a black and white flag for a track limits infraction during FP2.

Stroll spoke positively about the track driving experience, saying after the second hour of testing: “It’s a lot of fun to drive here, at very high speed. It’s very exciting in the car so, yeah, it’s cool.

READ MORE: Alonso highlights importance of development race for Aston Martin as they ‘need to overcome this deficit’

And as for how he hopes to extract AMR24’s potential over the rest of the weekend, the 25-year-old added: “Just keep pushing. »