Fernando Alonso has promised retribution for those who spread rumours that he’s considering leaving Aston Martin in a bid for Sergio Pérez’s seat at Red Bull Racing.

The days between the Mexico City Grand Prix and the sport arriving in Brazil have been gripped by wild and highly speculative rumours about a shock driver market twist to come in the final weeks of the season.

The rumour mill was set off by respected Spanish journalist Albert Fabrega, who mysteriously tweeted on Sunday night: “I don’t want to believe the rumour that they have told me now in the paddock. No.”

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Fernando Alonso says he’s been enjoying being “active and ironic” on social media amid online gossip that he’s in a relationship with Taylor Swift.

The internet has been ablaze with unverified rumours that the two-time champion has been dating the 12-time Grammy winner. Rather than ignore or rebuff the rumours, Alonso took to social media to post a video of himself winking at the camera to the backing track of Swift’s song Karma and with the caption “race week era,” an apparent reference to the singer’s Eras tour.

Asked about how he had reacted to the sudden boom in international interest, Alonso said he took it as a sign that the sport was able to attract new fans if it played its cards right online.

Fernando Alonso topped a rain-affected second practice session at the Australian Grand Prix ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

After a sunny and reasonably warm first practice hour, Melbourne turned cool and overcast in time for the final session, and light rain drops as pit lane opened made clear the threat of rain.

The ambient temperature was just 61 degrees F, with the track barely warmer at 80 degrees F, and both were dropping as the weather changed.

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If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Red Bull Racing must be absolutely blushing for the number of compliments it’s getting this year.

Last year’s championship-winning team appears to have penned the defining aerodynamic package of this rules era, with most teams gravitating towards its approach over the off-season.

Learning, copying — whatever you want to call it — is the natural way of things in Formula 1.

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There aren’t many Formula 1-MotoGP crossover opportunities out there, but Lance Stroll found one in Spain as he faced the prospect of sitting out months of the season with broken bones.

The connection was Dr Xavier Mir, the renowned trauma surgeon famous in part for his work on the constantly troubled forearms and wrists of motorcycle riders.

Stroll put his banged-up hands in Mir’s golden ones, and lo and behold he found his way to sixth in the first race of the season — and, in what will come as no surprise to any MotoGP fan, he did so months ahead of when conventional medical wisdom assumed he’d be back.

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Fernando Alonso beat Max Verstappen to top spot in final practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix to set up an intriguing qualifying hour.

Alonso and Verstappen traded fastest sectors in the final 10 minutes of the session, with both unwrapping a new set of soft tires at roughly the same time, facilitating a direct comparison.

Verstappen had the upper hand in the first two sectors, but a snap of oversteer in the final corner ceded the advantage to Alonso, who snatched top spot by just 0.005s.

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The Aston Martin hype train is gathering an alarming amount of speed just one day into the season proper.

The speculation began during the off-season with whispers of powerful numbers emanating from the wind tunnel.

Fernando Alonso’s performance during pre-season testing got the paddock’s attention with some remarkable long-run demonstrations.

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Fernando Alonso beat the Red Bull Racing drivers to the top spot in second practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix in another tantalizing glimpse of Aston Martin’s potential. The Spaniard hustled his AMR22 to a best time of 1m 30.907s, pipping Max Verstappen by 0.169s. Sergio Perez was a further 0.002s back in third.

Alonso and Verstappen also looked closely matched on long-run pace, which dominated the only practice session of the weekend run in representative night-time conditions — although most teams burned through their stocks of the soft tire to keep their two sets of the more durable hard rubber for Sunday’s race.

As much as it was good news for Aston Martin, Red Bull Racing didn’t look as settled as it did at last weekend’s test.

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Sebastian Vettel has raced his final grand prix.

He leaves behind a mighty Formula 1 legacy of four world championships, 52 victories, 122 podiums and 57 pole positions — rare air any way you cut it and leaving an indelible mark on the sport.

But so much of that success has been front loaded. It’s been close to a decade since Vettel last won a championship, and the bulk of his race wins are a long way behind him.

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Sebastian Vettel looks on while wearing a mask
Sebastian Vettel chose Aston Martin to begin a new chapter for his F1 career, but so far worrying signs of the old Seb remain.

Last September Sebastian Vettel was locked in a volatile battle for supremacy inside a nascent Ferrari, but just 12 months later the four-time champion has stitched up a deal to flee the sinking scarlet ship for greener pastures.