Fernando Alonso says that some of Alpine's key rivals have been made to look better than they currently are by the unique characteristics of street circuits in Monaco and Baku.
Alonso himself finished in sixth place in the Azerbaijan GP after a strong finish, having previously missed out on the points in Monaco.
Ferrari started from pole position in both races, but Alonso was clearly sceptical about whether his old team was really back on top while admitting that Alpine had dropped some performance relative to their rivals.
“In Monaco and in Baku we lost a little bit," Motorsport.com reports the two-time former world champion as saying this week. "It was worse in Monaco, while in Baku we were closer.
"We need to come back to Barcelona and Portimao form," he acknowledged. "We have some hopes from France, that we can come back to those kind of performances."
Alonso suggested that tyre preparation on the recent street circuits had enabled the other teams including Ferrari to raise their performance.
"They are fighting for pole position now, but we don't believe that is the improvement of the car," he stated. "It is just how they switch the tyres on for a street circuit.
“But there are no more street circuits after this," he pointed out. "Even Singapore is gone, so maybe we come back to more normal performance.”
Even though his result in Baku was the best he's achieved since his return to Formula 1 after a two-year sabbatical, Alonso insisted that he had not been unhappy with the season so far.
“I was not too unhappy in some of the other races that from the general opinion were very bad,” he stated. “I don't think that they were that bad."
Alonso admitted that a one-stop strategy had backfired in Barcelona, but pointed out that in Monaco he'd been able to match the performance of his Alpine team mate Esteban Ocon.
"We were more or less at the same pace as Esteban in Monaco, and I think I finished two seconds behind him," he said.
Overall he felt that criticism aimed at his early struggled had been unfair, pointing out that it had been the same for many drivers arriving at new teams over the winter with little chance for testing, including Daniel Ricciardo moving from Renault to McLaren.
"The opinion was like I was struggling a lot, even comparing me with other drivers that changed team this year, like Daniel or whatever," he said. “But I didn't think that was fair/
"There is a very big difference on their struggles compared to what was I was having. I was not worried, I knew it was just a matter of time.”