Alonso unleashes the illusion

Yes, they are only tests, but the return must be done. Without wishing to supercharge the illusion or raise expectations that may not be fulfilled, objective data: Alonso set the second fastest time on Thursday with the Aston Martin with Pirelli C3 tires and was 0.029 behind Verstappen’s lap. Luckily it wasn’t 33 thousandths. It was in the last hour of filming, already at night, the north wind was getting stronger, making the Sakhir circuit cold. Fuel loads are unknown, although there is talk of a fairly light tank. The time table doesn’t tell the whole truth, but it doesn’t lie either. There was potential in that car when in a dirty lap he was three tenths behind Max. There were more blockages, the windy track was no joke in the afternoon.

It had not been the dream premiere in the garage of the British green team, with an electrical breakdown in the morning on the shift of the tester Drugovich (caused a red flag) and a slight evening incident (the flat bottom was damaged and delayed the program for half an hour), but Fernando’s qualifying simulation restores the illusion of a team that has been in the spotlight for weeks . The AMR23 caused a sensation on its unveiling and the massive investment in the Silverstone factory sparked interest from his rivals in the paddock, including Adrian Newey. It is a topic of conversation. Winning races seems like an exaggerated goal, but settling in as fourth in contention should be a realistic goal for Alonso and Stroll’s Aston Martin.

Carlos Sainz (Ferrari SF-23).  Sakhir, Bahrain.  F1 2023.


Carlos Sainz (Ferrari SF-23). Sakhir, Bahrain. F1 2023.ALI HAIDEREFE

Good Ferrari, relentless Red Bull

The first day of practice in Bahrain left green sparks and the superiority of Red Bull. Verstappen was also scared in terms of the number of laps (157). But the Ferrari is there: the SF-23 is a good car, that’s what they say behind the garages. Carlos Sainz signed the third time of the day (0.416) and Leclerc did not beat him in the afternoon, although he practically replicated it (0.430). Aerodynamic and strategic tweaks can make this car a contender for anything. The problem is that the others also play and the RB19 has touched the asphalt with implacable solvency. On Friday it will be shared between Pérez and Verstappen and on Saturday, the last day of the test, it will be complete for the Mexican. Mercedes, third in line, was 0.671 behind the Dutchman. Hamilton signed that lap, which in the last moments Norris improved with the McLaren (0.625).

In Woking they have not spoken well of the MCL60 and the almost six tenths with the AMR23 may well be real. But the middle zone is an amalgamation. Williams and Alfa Romeo drew more attention with paraffin laps and benefits. Among the discreet, Haas, Alpha Tauri and an Alpine that did not look for times and stayed in the queue. The preseason is not about fast laps, but about relevant laps and complete filming. And Formula 1 is not about preseason. With the data on the table, this gave of itself on the first day of testing in Bahrain: the two Spanish pilots in the wake of the reigning champion. Now, whoever wants to, get excited.

Classification of the first test day in Bahrain.


Classification of the first test day in Bahrain.

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