Alonso gives his new Aston Marton team the thumbs up

Abu Dhabi (AFP) - Fernando Alonso enjoyed “a very special day” on his first drive for new team Aston Martin in a post-season test in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

The two-time world champion has switched from Alpine to Aston, taking over from Sebastian Vettel whose stellar career reached its chequered flag at the Yas Marina circuit on Sunday.

Forty-eight hours later and the class of 2022 cars were having their last spin in the Formula One sunshine.

“It was a very special day, having the first go in the car and trying to feel also the differences (between Alpine and Aston Martin”,” said Alonso.

“Obviously, we raced two days ago here, so it’s very fresh and it’s very useful,” he added.

“I tried to meet all the mechanics, the engineers, and I’ll try to remember a lot of new names, for sure!”

The 41-year-old was not the only driver getting to grips with a change of office.

Pierre Gasly admitted to feeling “emotional” succeeding Alonso at Alpine where the Frenchman joins compatriot Esteban Ocon.

“First time out on track with this car, I must say it’s been an extremely smooth morning,” said the AlphaTauri recruit.

“It was definitely emotional to be in this Alpine car,” he added.

“To be out on track with the Alpine and kick off… in my mind I am already starting the 2023 season, already working for next year. It was definitely very special.”

Australian Oscar Piastri had a get-to-know-you session with the McLaren vacated by Daniel Ricciardo.

Gasly’s replacement at AlphaTauri, Dutchman Nyck de Vries, and Mick Schumacher’s successor at Haas Nico Hulkenberg, were also out on the track.

Timing-sheet wise Ferrari filled the top three spots in the test which included Pirelli putting their 2023 tyre compounds a run out.

Red Bull’s double world champion Max Verstappen, winner of his record-extending 15th race of the season in the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, was also in action as was Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton posted only the 17th quickest time in Mercedes’ complex car.

On Saturday, after qualifying on the third row, he had made his feelings plain on the merits or otherwise of this year’s model.

“I’m looking forward to the end of next Tuesday which is the last day I have to drive this thing,” the seven-time champion said.