Getty Images

Another qualifying, another engine issue for Alonso in Bahrain

Leave a comment

Fernando Alonso has dominated the headlines this week with news of his shock debut in the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, in a jointly entered car between McLaren, Honda and Andretti Autosport.

But back in his day job in the McLaren Honda Formula 1 car, Alonso has had yet more mechanical woes, despite making it into Q2 in qualifying Saturday night for Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix (10:30 a.m. ET, CNBC).

Alonso was unable to set a lap in Q2 after getting through in 15th in Q1, which was only made possible by Carlos Sainz Jr. stopping on track at the final corner in his Toro Rosso at the end of Q1 on a lap which would have been quick enough to advance.

With yet another engine change coming as a result, even though Alonso would be due to start 15th he’ll likely start lower than that.

“Yeah we had a problem in the power unit. It blew up. So we will have to change it for tomorrow,” Alonso told NBCSN after the session.

“Obviously there’s no time to calibrate, there’s no warm up or anything we can test. So it’ll be a tough race. We’ll see what we can do. It’s not an ideal situation. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.”

This was the second engine issue of the weekend for the team after Stoffel Vandoorne’s car required an engine change from Friday after practice.

Follow @TonyDiZinno

Hamilton tops second Abu Dhabi F1 practice with new track record

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton swept to the top of the timesheets in second Formula 1 practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday evening, beating Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel by one-tenth of a second.

Hamilton trailed Vettel through the daytime-run opening practice session, but managed to strike back by recording a new track record at the Yas Marina Circuit for Mercedes.

Hamilton recorded a fastest lap time of 1:37.877 to finish one-tenth of a second clear of Vettel at the checkered flag, appearing to have an edge across a single lap on the ultra-soft tire.

Red Bull threw its hat into the ring as a possible rival for pole through Daniel Ricciardo, who finished the session third-fastest, three-tenths of a second back from Hamilton at the head of the field.

Kimi Raikkonen ended FP2 in fourth place in the sister Ferrari, finishing within half a second of Hamilton, and managed to edge out fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas, who was a further two-tenths back in P5.

Max Verstappen failed to get in a quick flying lap during FP2, ending the session one second down in P6 for Red Bull.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon’s tight intra-team fight at Force India continued through FP2 as the pair were separated by just 0.01 seconds, taking seventh and eighth respectively to finish as the leading midfield drivers.

Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso completed the top 10 for Renault and McLaren, with Felipe Massa following in 11th for Williams on his final Friday appearance in F1.

Massa was fortunate to avoid an accident with Ricciardo during the final 15 minutes of the session after a mix up at the hairpin when the Brazilian tried to get a wider line for the back straight.

Running in Abu Dhabi continues with final practice at Yas Marina on Saturday morning from 5am ET on the NBC Sports app, followed by qualifying at 8am ET on NBCSN.