Home hero Alonso ended Friday’s two practice sessions within two-tenths of fellow double world champion Max Verstappen, who set a searing pace in his Red Bull. 

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After describing FP1 and FP2 as “productive”, Alonso is expecting the competitive order to remain tight heading into qualifying. 

“It’s so tight that I think one or two tenths will put you in a completely different spot in the classification,” he said. “So don’t pay too much attention to the times.

“We went through all the programmes that we had before the free practice, which is the good thing. Learning about the tyres. 

“The track is a little slower maybe than what we predicted, so there’s still more time to find, more tweaks on the set-up, but it was a productive Friday.”

Aston Martin have introduced several updates to their AMR23 challenger this weekend in Barcelona. 

Asked if the new parts are helping the team’s performance, Alonso replied: “They do, they do, absolutely.

“There is not a new part that we put in the car that is not helping the performance. That’s something that has been always the case with the team from Bahrain. 

“So I’m happy with the upgrades and let’s see tomorrow, when everyone goes to full power, where we are.”