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Saudi Arabian GP – Analysis Friday’s F1 practice



Saudi Arabian GP Analysis Friday 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.

PosNameCarBest TimeGap Leader
1Max VerstappenRed Bull1m29.603s
2Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-Mercedes1m29.811s+0.208s
3Sergio PérezRed Bull1m29.902s+0.299s
4Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1m30.039s+0.436s
5George RussellMercedes1m30.07s+0.467s
6Pierre GaslyAlpine-Renault1m30.1s+0.497s
7Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1m30.11s+0.507s
8Nico HülkenbergHaas-Ferrari1m30.181s+0.578s
9Charles LeclercFerrari1m30.341s+0.738s
10Carlos Sainz Jr.Ferrari1m30.592s+0.989s
11Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m30.599s+0.996s
12Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1m30.721s+1.118s
13Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1m30.776s+1.173s
14Alex AlbonWilliams-Mercedes1m30.81s+1.207s
15Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1m30.82s+1.217s
16Guanyu ZhouAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1m30.837s+1.234s
17Nyck de VriesAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1m30.921s+1.318s
18Logan SargeantWilliams-Mercedes1m30.959s+1.356s
19Oscar PiastriMcLaren-Mercedes1m30.964s+1.361s
20Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1m31.052s+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