Alonso: Alpine 'looking quite competitive' after strong Friday

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Alpine F1 Team A521 leaves the pits. French Grand Prix, Friday 18th June 2021. Paul Ricard, France.
© Alpine F1

Fernando Alonso says Alpine is "looking quite competitive" following its opening day of running at the French Grand Prix with the Enstone squad leading F1's midfield runners on Friday.

Alonso clocked in fourth at the end of FP2, just 0.468s adrift from pace setter Max Verstappen, while Esteban Ocon concluded the session P6.

The Spaniard described running conditions as "tricky" but Alpine's A521 appears well adapted to the Circuit Paul Ricard's more conventional layout.

"We faced quite tricky conditions today with some strong winds and high track temperatures, but I think we can be quite pleased with what we managed to achieve from Friday practice," said Alonso.

"We tested a few items in FP1 and then we followed our programme for the afternoon in FP2 with some decent mileage clocked.

"We’ll analyse all of our data now and this evening, but so far I think we look quite competitive here so let’s see how we go tomorrow."

Ocon said Alpine's performance looked "promising" although the Frenchman admitted it was early days still.

"Today’s practice has been solid," he said. "We’re back into the top ten for the moment, but we know it’s still early days. Both cars have good pace – that’s promising – and the aim is to keep working hard and consolidate this pace.

"The car feels good and the team has been working hard on that. There are, of course, areas to improve, and there’s more performance to find."

Alpine racing director Davide Brivio hailed a Friday programme that had been "well executed", and said the team's focus is now on ensuring that it follows up with another solid performance on Saturday.

"It’s been a busy but well executed practice programme by the team today," said the Italian.

"Both drivers did a great job in both sessions and, looking at the timesheets, we’re in and amongst the good positions.

"This circuit is different to the last two tracks we’ve visited, as it’s a more conventional layout for Formula 1, which perhaps suits our car a little more.

"It’s a promising start and we will remain focused with the job we have to do this weekend. That begins with Free Practice 3 tomorrow, where we will try to prepare ourselves for qualifying and ensure we follow up on today’s performance."

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