Formula 1 Racing

Alonso fastest in FP2 before rain hits

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15

The Aston Martin driver spent the majority of the session atop the order with only token interruptions from other drivers, as he found increasing grip despite a light sprinkling of early rain.

In the wake of the hailstorm and downpour that affected FP1, and expected further precipitation predicted by the weather radars, the majority sought to gather soft-tyre running in early on in the session. 

A light sprinkling of rain began to fall as the session started; although this did not hinder early improvements as Pierre Gasly set the first time in the 1m20s ballpark, radio traffic appeared to be largely forecast-focused.
Alonso then put his AMR23 on top of the order, which was then beaten by his team-mate Lance Stroll, although the Spaniard continued to improve despite reports that the precipitation was intensifying at the end of the first 20 minutes. 
He found more pace with a 1m17.835s, then a 1m16.668s, before Leclerc took control of the session with a 1m16.556s moments after. The Monegasque had earlier been pinged for a stewards’ investigation as Ferrari initially sent him out on intermediates before the circuit had been declared wet, and had to pit to correct the error.

Despite the predictions over the weather, the rain continued to hold off and allowed Alonso to resume his tenure at the top as he set a 1m15.810s, closing out the first half-hour with largely interrupted running as the continued running negated the effect of rain.

When the soft-tyre running came to an end, it produced a lengthy hiatus as rain continued to fall. This ensured that, if anyone was going to take to the circuit in the final 20 minutes, they would need intermediate tyres – all but ending the chance that anyone would beat Alonso’s time.

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Russell was second fastest after separating the two Aston Martins, leaving Stroll in third place, while Leclerc awaits a verdict on his premature but brief intermediate stint from fourth on the timesheets.

Max Verstappen was left 18th in the overall order when he pitted during his soft-tyre runs, reporting a smoky smell which required attention from the Red Bull mechanics. This was later revealed to be an issue with his energy recovery system.
Lando Norris was bottom of the timesheets, and is also awaiting a stewards’ investigation for failing to follow the race director’s escape road instructions at the Turn 14 chicane.

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