Alonso tops second practice in F1 Saudi Arabia GP ahead of Russell and Verstappen

Fernando Alonso driving his Aston Martin in Saudi Arabia
Photo Credit: Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team
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Fernando Alonso topped second practice in Saudi Arabia ahead of George Russell and the reigning world champion Max Verstappen.

Charles Leclerc set the fourth quickest time for Ferrari ahead of Sergio Perez during the only practice session ran under the floodlights.

The second practice session ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was delayed due to checking for possible loose bolts in drain covers in the pit lane.

After a 10-minute delay, the one-hour-long session began at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

A flurry of cars joined the circuit at the green light under the floodlights in representative conditions ahead of the Grand Prix after the first practice held in the daytime.

Valtteri Bottas spun at Turn 1 in his Sauber, locking the rear axle before rejoining the track.

Perez set the pace early with a 1:30.427 for Red Bull, 0.020 of a second quicker than his teammate Verstappen.

Aston Martin’s Alonso slotted into third, three-tenths of a second slower than the Mexican. The top three all used medium tyres.

The double world champion improved to set the fastest time nine minutes into the session, breaking the 1:30 barrier with a 1:29.846 ahead of Lando Norris on the hard tyre.

Perez complained of bouncing at Turn 10 and 11 in his Red Bull early in the session.

The stewards began investigating Lewis Hamilton for impeding Logan Sargeant as Verstappen went to the top of the timesheets.

The Dutchman set a 1:29.543, just 0.017 ahead of Alonso, with the unwell Carlos Sainz slightly further back in third.

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Bottas recovered from his shaky start to the session and broke into the top 10, improving to P7 ahead of Daniel Ricciardo on the soft tyre.

With 34 minutes remaining, Alonso usurped Verstappen to go fastest on the soft tyre as the track continued to rubber in.

Leclerc improved to third place and was quickly followed by Perez, although both drivers were more than three-tenths slower than pacesetter Alonso.

Hamilton began his run on the soft tyre with half an hour to go but aborted his first effort before improving to seventh place behind Lance Stroll.

Russell went into second place with just over 20 minutes remaining, two-tenths of a second behind Alonso, who stayed atop the timesheets.

The Spaniard remained the fastest driver with 15 minutes to go in a productive session for the 42-year-old.

The top 10 was separated by just seven-tenths of a second. Alonso held the fastest time ahead of Russell, Verstappen, and Leclerc as Perez rounded out the top five. 

The rest of the top half of the grid saw Stroll, Sainz and Hamilton, with Pierre Gasly and Oscar Piastri in P9 and 10th.

A black and white flag was given to Stroll for track limits as Hamilton ran wide at Turn 22 before rejoining the circuit. The Mercedes driver quickly returned to the pits with suspicions of a lack of power.

In the final few minutes, Alonso continued to hold the fastest time ahead of Russell in a very competitive session at the second round of the Formula 1 season.

On the race simulations, however, Max Verstappen looked ominously quick as he lapped in the high 1:33s and low 1:34s.