Fernando Alonso said that he expected overtaking will prove to be difficult this weekend at Miami International Autodrome because of the newly resurfaced track proving more slippery than expected.
Alonso was seventh fastest in first practice on Friday but picked up the pace in the later second session which saw him P5 ahead of Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton albeit 0.730s off the pace of Max Verstappen.
It was something of a return to form for Aston Martin, which had struggled in Baku during the new sprint weekend format.
“It was a relatively routine Friday practice for us after the different format in Baku," Alonso confirmed. "We’ve had more time on track to learn about the car and the tyres this weekend, despite some red flags disrupting the sessions.
"So far I think the new track surface seems to be better, but we were basically just cleaning the racing line today," he continued. "When you move away from it, it’s very slippery so that could make overtaking difficult.
"Qualifying tomorrow is important, but our strength is normally on Sunday, so we’ll see what we can do.”
Alonso had a taste of what that could be like on Friday when he came up on a traffic during FP2 in the shape of his former Alpine team mate Esteban Ocon - and it was clear that there is no love lost between them.
“The Alpines are fighting the free practice!” Alonso complained over the Aston team radio. His race engineer Chris Cronin replied: “That’s a joke! You were on a flying lap and Ocon didn’t get out of the way.”
Alonso had the last word however, adding: “Yeah, copy. But the free practice is their moment, so it’s good.”
Meanwhile on the other side of the garage, Lance Stroll was also feeling update with how things had gone on Friday.
“We made the most of both practice sessions today and came away with a better understanding of how the changes to the track will impact our running," he said.
"We know it will be incredibly hot here – probably the hottest track temperatures of the year – so tyre degradation will be a big factor and something we need to monitor across the weekend.
"But the car felt good; we made some changes after FP1 which improved performance for FP2, so I’m feeling positive heading into Saturday.”
However Stroll will have to watch out on pit lane, having already picked up a fine of 500 euros for two speeding violations on Friday.
A stewards report for the first incident noted that Stroll "exceeded the pit lane speed limit which is set at 80kph for this event by 0.3 kph."
The second infraction was by 3.5kph, and carried a more weighted fine of €400, compared to €100 for the first.
Because of the nature of the street circuit's design in the area around the Hard Rock Stadium, drivers head for pit entry before the flat-out right hand final bend completing the lap before arriving at a chicane to reduce their speed.