Bahrain Grand Prix: Fernando Alonso edges out Red Bulls in practice but plays down pole hopes

The Aston Martin driver was 0.169 seconds quicker than world champion Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, whose team-mate Sergio Perez was third fastest. Alonso’s performance, if repeated in qualifying and race, marks a dramatic step forward for Aston Martin, who finished seventh in the championship last season. The Aston Martin was expected to have made a step forward but Alonso’s performance was a surprise – even to the team themselves. Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell was down in 13th and the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz 14th after making an error on his fastest lap. Leclerc was the fastest Ferrari driver on race pace, but nearly a second a lap slower than Verstappen, and the Mercedes drivers slower again, and also behind Gasly and and Norris.

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