The first practice session in Saudi Arabia this weekend has come to a close with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc leading the pack.
He managed to clock faster times than the Red Bull at the Saudi Arabian track- but the Milton Keynes-based outfit has arrived in Jeddah with confidence after fixing their fuel pump issues which prematurely ended their season-opening performance.
The final timesheet was as follows:
FP2 kicks off at 5:00 pm Irish time.
Haas encountered early issues with Kevin Magnussen’s car and the team could be heard over the radio asking the Danish driver to come “in slowly, do not shift.”
The issue is believed to be with the hydraulics – not what they would have wanted straight out of the gate in Saudi Arabia.
Kevin Magnussen’s day came to a close after just two laps, and the team confirmed on Twitter: “The repairs on Kevin’s car are continuing so unfortunately he won’t be back out in this session.
“The team are working flat-out for Kevin to be able to return to action later in FP2.”
Meanwhile, Alpine confirmed this afternoon that they have had to replace Fernando Alonso’s engine after discovering a “sealing leak.”
He won’t endure a penalty for the change and Esteban Ocon’s car was unaffected by the matter.
The team wrote on Twitter:
🚨 Team Statement 🚨 After the #BahrainGP, we identified a suspected sealing issue with the Power Unit in Fernando’s car. As a precaution the ICE has been changed for the Saudi GP and the Bahrain unit sent back to Viry for further analysis. #SaudiArabianGPpic.twitter.com/WxDTAHggwA
Their statement went on to say: “It will be put back into the engine pool for later season use. Fernando won’t take a penalty this weekend and Esteban’s ICE was entirely unaffected by this matter.”
With just over 40 minutes to go this afternoon, the session was red-flagged after a marker board showing 50 metres from Turn 1 fell onto the track and was smashed.
It was the McLaren of Lando Norris that clipped the board, shattering it into pieces.
Meanwhile, Max Verstappen was the man to beat at the restart after posting a lap in 1:30.888. However, the lap record at this track – held by Lewis Hamilton – is 1:27.511s, so viewers can expect more of push as the day goes on.
Despite the Jeddah Circuit being much smoother than Bahrain, Mercedes continued to struggle with porpoising in the W13. Lewis Hamilton came over the radio to tell engineers: “There’s a lot of bouncing.”
The team was also testing out a new rear wing with his teammate George Russell – he had been running a much thicker version than Lewis Hamilton but was switched back to the original shortly after.
Ferrari was having similar issues with porpoising this afternoon – an issue they didn’t encounter in Bahrain. Carlos Sainz was heard saying “so much bouncing guys.”