BAHRAIN: F1 returns for the 2023 season at the Bahrain Grand Prix and is all set to be an exciting race as Fernando Alonso led the way in the final practice session.
Alonso tops final F1 practice session
Alonso, who also topped the time sheets in FP2, set the pace in the hot conditions, clocking a time of 1m 32.340s on a qualifying-style run on the soft compound tyre. He led the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez by just 0.005s and 0.106s, respectively.
The track was inactive in the early stages of the session, but with 50 minutes to go, the lap times began to pour in, with Lewis Hamilton narrowly ahead of the Ferraris.
However, Alonso shone brightest in the Bahrain heat, despite the unrepresentative conditions compared to what the drivers will face later in qualifying and Sunday’s race.
Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate George Russell finished fourth and sixth, respectively, with the Silver Arrows continuing to experiment with set-ups by running different rear wings.
Charles Leclerc’s late run was good enough to finish fifth in the timesheets. Ferrari will be desperate to find performance before the qualification session later in the evening.
Aston Martin continued to impress, with both drivers finishing in the top 10, as Lance Stroll finished seventh, just ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz in eighth.
Meanwhile, McLaren’s debutant, Oscar Piastri, finished in ninth place. Aston Martin’s performance is a positive sign for the season ahead as they look to compete with the top teams.
Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu finished 12th, ahead of the other McLaren of Lando Norris in 13th, with the Haas pair of Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg in 14th and 15th, respectively.
Yuki Tsunoda was the lead AlphaTauri in the session, finishing 16th, ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas in 17th, and Williams duo Logan Sargeant and Alex Albon in 18th and 19th, respectively, with AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries down in last place.
With many teams making changes to their cars and driver lineups, there is a sense of excitement and anticipation in the air as to who will come out on top.
As the final practice session has come to a close, it is clear that Fernando Alonso and his new team have made great strides and are looking strong heading into the race weekend.
The qualifying session will take place later today, and fans worldwide will be eagerly watching to see who will secure the pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
With such a talented field of drivers and teams, it promises to be a thrilling and unpredictable season opener.
Also Read: F1 Returns: Perez, Alonso Dominate Free Practice Sessions at Bahrain