Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Interlagos, 2021

Alonso fastest in final practice before sprint qualifying

2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix second practice

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[raceweekendpromotion]Fernando Alonso set the fastest time in second practice, during a long-run heavy session.

A speed advantage in a straight line helped move Alonso and his Alpine team mate Esteban Ocon towards the top of the order in the Saturday session, where cars run in the same specification as Friday qualifying, parc ferme ongoing.

There was one exception to that, as Lewis Hamilton was given permission to use a different rear wing to the one that failed scrutineering after qualifying. That decision was delivered just before practice began, and the Mercedes driver wasn’t seen on track for almost half of the one-hour session.

The first flying laps on soft tyres were set by Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, before his focus switched to doing race runs on Pirelli’s medium and soft compounds, the latter of which he will be starting Sprint Qualifying on.

His team mate Max Verstappen went over a second faster before he too moved to long runs on the mediums, but he wasn’t to end practice on top as with 20 minutes to go a soft tyre run by Alonso put him into first place for the first time since Q1 at the 2017 British Grand Prix.

The long-run focus meant he went unchallenged during the remaining minutes, and ended second practice with a lap 0.864 seconds faster than Verstappen but slower than the qualifying pace.

Valtteri Bottas put his Mercedes in third place ahead of Ocon, while Hamilton did his running exclusively on the softs and late on rose up to fifth place but almost two thirds of a second slower than Verstappen on a circuit that had rubbered in significantly by the time he set his fastest lap.

Perez was shuffled down to sixth, ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi who was the fastest Ferrari-powered driver in his Alfa Romeo.

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2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix second practice result

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
114Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’11.23823
233Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’12.1020.86426
377Valtteri BottasMercedes1’12.3551.11724
431Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’12.4071.16926
544Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’12.7411.50325
611Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’12.9031.66529
799Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’12.9971.75937
855Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’13.0781.84031
916Charles LeclercFerrari1’13.0991.86133
107Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’13.3552.11739
1118Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’13.4262.18841
123Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’13.4482.21025
134Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’13.5812.34323
1410Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’13.6082.37032
1563George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’13.6152.37724
1622Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’13.7262.48838
175Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’13.7472.50942
186Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’14.0252.78724
1947Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’14.0662.82840
209Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’14.9093.67137

Second practice visual gaps

Fernando Alonso – 1’11.238

+0.864 Max Verstappen – 1’12.102

+1.117 Valtteri Bottas – 1’12.355

+1.169 Esteban Ocon – 1’12.407

+1.503 Lewis Hamilton – 1’12.741

+1.665 Sergio Perez – 1’12.903

+1.759 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’12.997

+1.840 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’13.078

+1.861 Charles Leclerc – 1’13.099

+2.117 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’13.355

+2.188 Lance Stroll – 1’13.426

+2.210 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’13.448

+2.343 Lando Norris – 1’13.581

+2.370 Pierre Gasly – 1’13.608

+2.377 George Russell – 1’13.615

+2.488 Yuki Tsunoda – 1’13.726

+2.509 Sebastian Vettel – 1’13.747

+2.787 Nicholas Latifi – 1’14.025

+2.828 Mick Schumacher – 1’14.066

+3.671 Nikita Mazepin – 1’14.909

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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7 comments on “Alonso fastest in final practice before sprint qualifying”

  1. What about Chieftain’s decision whose deadline was an hour ago?

  2. A useless practice session, like in Silverstone & Monza.

    1. @jerejj The point of this practice sessions is to give teams a chance to do long-runs. They can make their tyre choices for the sprint and the race based on this practice session. This session was never intended to be a way to compare direct pace, which was already sorted in qualifying yesterday. This practice session was probably request for by the teams and adds little value for fans.

  3. Nice result for Alonso, as much as it isn’t representative that’s still good news for Alpine: they’re not struggling for pace in Brazil like they were in the last two rounds in the Americas, at least over one lap.
    But it’s weird and anticlimatic such practice session after all (one-lap) quali serious business is done and dusted for the weekend. Nonsensical really.

  4. This sprint format needs a complete overhaul. What is the point in a practice session after the cars enter parc ferme?

    May as well just save the mileage and practice the track on a playstation.

  5. Just a willy-waving lap by Alonso.

    1. yes pointles fp3 unless you had a wager on ALO as most serious of the teams were on long runs, Alonso was nearly 2 seconds slower than the front of the grid on softs.

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