Saudi Arabian GP – Analysis Friday’s F1 practice
As teams compete for the fastest lap times and long run strategies, the Analysis Friday’s F1 practice Saudi Arabian GP reveals the battle for the 2023 Formula 1 season continues in Jeddah. Friday’s session provided insight into the competitive order, with some teams facing challenges while others shone with impressive performances. The stage is set for an exciting race weekend.
The numbers from Friday’s running in Jeddah confirm the competitive order from Bahrain’s race day, with Red Bull being the fastest 2023 Formula 1 car ahead of Aston Martin.
While Red Bull is fast in all areas, Aston Martin can match it in the corners but at the cost of carrying more drag.
Alonso managed to split the Red Bulls on single-lap pace, but this may have been due to a slightly lower fuel load, as seen in Bahrain. The Red Bull advantage appears to be just as significant as in Bahrain, but Aston Martin seems to be solidifying its position as the second-best team.
Similar to other teams, Red Bull conducted long runs during Friday’s session using both the medium (C3) and soft (C4) tyres, in preparation for what appears to be a one-stop race.
It seems that the medium tyre is the preferred option for race stints, with Sergio Perez achieving the fastest long run on this compound, while Max Verstappen was a couple of tenths slower on the soft tyre. Verstappen commented that it was a positive day, but there is still room for improvement, particularly with managing the tyres. However, he noted that the differences in tyre degradation are not as significant in Jeddah as they were in Bahrain.
Alpine had an impressive performance during Friday’s session, challenging Mercedes for the position of the third-fastest car on a single lap, and potentially even faster during long runs.
Pierre Gasly’s run on the soft tyres was particularly noteworthy, while Esteban Ocon’s performance on the medium compound was only 0.1 seconds behind the Aston Martin of Alonso, who was also on the same tyre. Overall, Alpine had a great day at the office.
Mercedes had a challenging day on Friday, with Lewis Hamilton’s position in the long-run times on the medium tyre appearing much better than it actually was due to him only completing four laps, compared to Red Bull’s 16 laps and Alpine’s 12 laps on the same compound.
Hamilton had a difficult time finding a balance on both tyre compounds and abandoned his initial soft tyre run after overheating the rears. The team had Hamilton and Russell on different programmes, experimenting with as many set-up options as possible.
It was evident that Russell’s performance was better than Hamilton’s, especially in the first sector’s interconnected sweeps, where confidence in the car is crucial – something Hamilton seemed to lack during the session.
Hamilton appeared to be in a low-key mood after the session, acknowledging that the team struggled in both sessions and would need to continue working on improving the car’s balance. He described it as a challenging car to drive.
On the other hand, Russell had a slightly more optimistic outlook, stating that the team was learning a lot from the session but acknowledging that they would not be able to find a significant improvement overnight.
Ferrari seemed to be running its power unit very conservatively during the session, which may have contributed to its poor showing in the single-lap comparison. However, it is expected that the team’s performance will significantly improve during qualifying, although it may not be enough to satisfy drivers Charles Leclerc or Carlos Sainz.
The team’s long runs were also not particularly impressive, showing a similar pace and high levels of tyre degradation, even on the medium compound, similar to that of Mercedes. There are suggestions that Mercedes was running a higher engine setting, painting a potentially bleaker picture for the Ferrari team.
Nico Hulkenberg demonstrated strong pace over a single lap, matching the performance of Alpine and Mercedes.
However, the Haas team struggled during long runs, with both Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen showing poor pace, which was even worse than that of AlphaTauri and Williams. The team’s long-run performance was particularly disastrous and needs significant improvement.
Pos Name Car Best Time Gap Leader 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m29.603s 2 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m29.811s +0.208s 3 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1m29.902s +0.299s 4 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1m30.039s +0.436s 5 George Russell Mercedes 1m30.07s +0.467s 6 Pierre Gasly Alpine-Renault 1m30.1s +0.497s 7 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m30.11s +0.507s 8 Nico Hülkenberg Haas-Ferrari 1m30.181s +0.578s 9 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m30.341s +0.738s 10 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1m30.592s +0.989s 11 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m30.599s +0.996s 12 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1m30.721s +1.118s 13 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT 1m30.776s +1.173s 14 Alex Albon Williams-Mercedes 1m30.81s +1.207s 15 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m30.82s +1.217s 16 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m30.837s +1.234s 17 Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT 1m30.921s +1.318s 18 Logan Sargeant Williams-Mercedes 1m30.959s +1.356s 19 Oscar Piastri McLaren-Mercedes 1m30.964s +1.361s 20 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m31.052s +1.449s
Analysis Friday’s F1 practice Saudi Arabian GP Analysis Friday’s F1 practice Saudi Arabian GP Analysis Friday’s F1 practice Saudi Arabian GP
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