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Alonso hails positive Thursday for Aston Martin after topping FP2 in Saudi Arabia

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JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 06: Fernando Alonso of Spain and Aston Martin F1 Team walks in the

Fernando Alonso was pleased with his and Aston Martin’s performance during Thursday’s practice sessions at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, though remained cautious about their prospects for the rest of the weekend despite topping FP2.

Alonso was never far away from the head of the timesheets as the action got underway at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. The Spaniard ended the first practice hour in second place, just over a tenth of a second back from Max Verstappen in P1.

READ MORE: FP2: Alonso fastest during second practice in Saudi Arabia ahead of Russell and Verstappen

It was then one place better for Alonso in second practice, with the 42-year-old setting the fastest lap of the day when he put in a time of 1m 28.827s on the soft tyre as the track increasingly ramped up.

After looking fast throughout the Thursday, Alonso was asked how he felt following his particularly strong showing in FP2.

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 07: Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) Aston Martin AMR24

Alonso set the fastest time on Thursday at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, having topped the timesheets in FP2

“I feel good,” the two-time world champion responded. “Obviously it’s only free practice. As we saw last year and also in Bahrain, we are faster in free practice than in qualifying. I think we run different strategy, in terms of fuel loads, engine modes and so on.

“We keep our programme ahead. [There were] not really any issues with the car. Set-up possibilities [are] also quite open for tomorrow. But yeah, definitely a good Thursday for us.”

READ MORE: FP1: Verstappen leads Alonso and Perez during first practice in Saudi Arabia

Pushed for his thoughts on Aston Martin’s long run pace ahead of Saturday night’s Grand Prix, Alonso insisted that he did not yet have a read on this.

“We just jump out of the car and we have to come here to speak with you, so I have no idea,” he added.

‘It’s always a lot of fun to drive here’ – Stroll smiling after first day in Jeddah

It was also a decent day in Jeddah for Alonso’s team mate Lance Stroll, who ended first and second practice in ninth and sixth respectively, though the Canadian was shown a black and white flag for a track limits infringement during FP2.

Stroll spoke positively about the experience of driving on the circuit, saying after the second practice hour: “It’s a lot of fun to drive here, very high-speed. Very exciting in the car so, yeah, it’s cool.”

READ MORE: Alonso highlights importance of development race for Aston Martin as they 'need to overcome this deficit’

And in terms of how he hopes to extract the potential from the AMR24 throughout the remainder of the weekend, the 25-year-old added: “Just keep pushing.”

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