The 2023 Formula One season has begun with Bahrain hosting the first race of the season, a long season that comprises 23 races dotted over five continents. After completing a 3-day pre-season test last week, Friday’s 1st practice is really a continuation of the pre-season. Teams will be testing fuel loads, engine modes, and of course tyres. F1 1st Practice is really a systems test, and so is 2nd Practice where teams tend to carry out longer runs to simulate race performance. Generating data, analyzing data, and formulating a strategy are the true intent.
With Friday’s practice sessions over, Fernando Alonso put Aston Martin at the top of the timesheets in FP2 with a time of 1:30.9. While Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso have underscored their pre-season test hype, Alonso’s time is 4-teths away from last years pole time of 1:30.5 which was set by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. So, it’s fair to say Aston Martin has improved, but it is clear that Ferrari, Red Bull, and Mercedes are not interested in setting headline-grabbing times until it really matters.
When qualifying ends on Saturday, only then will we know where each team stands and how much faster the cars have become over the winter development and testing. We know Red Bull remains the car to beat, Ferrari will be there or there about, and Mercedes is kind of like a recovering alcoholic. Aston Martin is quite possibly the 4th best team probably able to challenge for podiums and possibly an outside chance to win at least one race.
But as I always say, Sunday is when the points are won and lost.
2023 Bahrain Grand Prix Friday Practice 2
1. Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes | 1:30.907 25
2. Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT | 1:31.076 +0.169s 24
3. Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT | 1:31.078 +0.171s 26
4. Charles Leclerc Ferrari | 1:31.367 +0.460s 26
5. Nico Hulkenberg Haas Ferrari | 1:31.376 +0.469s 25
6. Lance Stroll Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes | 1:31.450 +0.543s 28
7. Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault | 1:31.475 +0.568s 24
8. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes | 1:31.543 +0.636s 27
9. Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes | 1:31.570 +0.663s 27
10. Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo Ferrari | 1:31.586 +0.679s 27
11. Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault | 1:31.608 +0.701s 25
12. Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari 1:31.793 +0.886s 28
13. George Russell Mercedes | 1:31.882 +0.975s 25
14. Carlos Sainz Ferrari | 1:31.956 +1.049s 28
15. Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes | 1:32.024 +1.117s 27
16. Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari | 1:32.110 +1.203s 18
17. Alexander Albon Williams Mercedes | 1:32.440 +1.533s 28
18. Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda RBPT | 1:32.525 +1.618s 27
19. Nyck De Vries AlphaTauri Honda RBPT | 1:32.605 +1.698s 28
20. Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes | 1:32.749 +1.842s 29