Alonso leads the way in Saudi Arabian GP FP2 amid drain chaos and crash near-miss

Fernando Alonso and George Russell set the pace at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in the second practice session in Saudi Arabia

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Aston Martin and Mercedes followed up their strong pace in FP1 by topping second practice at the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, in an incident-packed session reflecting the turbulent times Formula 1 is navigating off the track.

After Christian Horner received a grilling in the team principal’s press conference between practices, it was the driver at the centre of F1‘s other scandal that led the way in FP2 – as Fernando Alonso finished two-tenths ahead of George Russell.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been accused of intervening to overturn Alonso‘s penalty in the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP that awarded him a podium over Russell.

Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton almost caused a crash when he forced Logan Sargeant to take evasive action, the American had trouble with Ferrari in FP1 and Hamilton wasn’t warned of the approaching Williams by his team.

That was after the session start time had been delayed by 10 minutes as loose drain covers were checked in the pitlane following similar problems in Bahrain and Las Vegas in recent F1 history.

Alonso rises above F1 chaos

George Russell of Great Britain and Mercedes and Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing walk in the Paddock prior to practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia | Clive Rose/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

However, when all was said and done it was Alonso celebrating. Aston Martin and Mercedes looked like Red Bull‘s closest challengers in FP1 and Alonso took on that mantle to finish three-tenths ahead of third-place Max Verstappen.

His teammate Lance Stroll was only sixth though with Lewis Hamilton eighth – showing a significant deficit within each team.

Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez rounded out the top five, with Carlos Sainz battling sickness to finish seventh but three-tenths behind his teammate.

Pierre Gasly finished a morale-boosting day for Alpine in ninth, and Oscar Piastri completed the top 10 while the feeling remains that McLaren still have more to give in Jeddah.

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, and previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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