Offering Aussie Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri to McLaren as a reserve driver was a sign of goodwill from his Alpine Formula 1 team ahead of an uncertain future on the sidelines, according to Sky Sports F1 pundit Ted Kravitz.

Alpine announced during the final three days of testing that it would offer its rising star to McLaren in the event either Lando Norris or Daniel Ricciardo were unable to compete and if existing reserves Nyck de Vries, Stoffel Vandoorne and Paul di Resta were unavailable.

The announcement was unrelated to Ricciardo’s COVID diagnosis, and the McLaren driver is expected to be in the car for this weekend’s first race.

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Fernando Alonso has topped a warm final practice at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix while stewards investigations into Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen remains unresolved just hours before the sprint.

Alonso was 0.864s quicker than the under-investigation Verstappen at the top of the order, but his best lap of 1m11.238s was substantially off the pace of either session on Friday. FP2 during sprint weekends is run under parc ferme conditions, confining its usefulness to long runs rather than ultimate pace or set-up changes.

Verstappen was summoned to the stewards in the hours before final practice began for touching Lewis Hamilton’s rear wing after qualifying, an apparent breach of the FIA international sporting code, but no decision had been made before the end of practice.

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