Second of Alonso with doubts

The first two positions in the time table in free practice for the Spanish GP are not surprising: Verstappen and Alonso. The two most solid this season, that’s how they ended last Sunday in Monaco. The tenth that separates the Spaniard from the Dutchman squeaks more, especially when Stroll is more than a second away; and Hulkenberg’s third record with Haas directly convinces that Friday in MontmelĂł is strange: many aerodynamic evolutions were tested and also the new hard Pirelli compounds that will be used from Silverstone (strange change of ball in the middle of the tournament) . F1 visits a conventional circuit for the first time since Bahrain, so there were a lot of pending tasks.

Red Bull and Mercedes bring a new diffuser with slight tweaks. Aston Martin debuts front wing with news and a rear adapted to the downforce of Barcelona. Ferrari has put on the track some sidepods in the style of the RB19, although not so extreme, which represent the beginning of the end of that bathtub sidepod so characteristic since the F1-75, and then SF-23. Vasseur won’t say in public that they have to change the concept of the car, although it’s good that he apparently heard the signs.

Carlos Sainz (Ferrari SF-23).  Barcelona, ​​Spain.  F1 2023.
Carlos Sainz (Ferrari SF-23). Barcelona, ​​Spain. F1 2023.JAVIER SORIANOAFP

Good feelings at Ferrari

In any case, it is positive that Alonso goes to the meeting with the engineers at 0.170 behind Verstappen. The AMR23 works on seemingly any surface. At the Circuit, extreme degradation returns thanks to the high-speed corners. In a race that traditionally involves two stops, the Aston Martin’s good tire management should be an advantage for the two-time champion. As for Sainz, his seventh place (0.367) is not negative. Without the whiplash at turn 13, on his best lap, and taking into account how soon he made his best attempt (at the start of the session), the feeling at Ferrari is good. After all, it is a car that every Saturday comes closer, more or less, to the fight for pole position.

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The day does leave a conclusion: how beautiful is MontmelĂł without the chicane of the third sector. The new ’13’ is full, but the entry to the finish line in the ’14’ becomes very fast. Success. And another hot spot: the weather forecast predicts a 60% chance of rain at qualifying time on Saturday. And another 40% on Sunday during the race. Perhaps the water is the unbalancing factor that alters a normally stable race, and that makes it difficult for Verstappen to win. Missing does. The rain and the alternatives.

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