Alonso sees sprint qualifying as 'first stint' of one big race

© XPB 

Fernando Alonso says that he'll treat F1's first ever sprint qualifying event at Silverstone as the first stint of one big race.

The Alpine driver qualified P11 for Saturday's 30-minute mad dash, two spots ahead of teammate Esteban Ocon.

The Spaniard reckoned he could have made the top-ten shootout but for a "messy" final run in Q2.

"It was tricky, it was windy out there and I think we had a little bit more pace in the car, but the traffic was not an easy thing to live with today," said Alonso.

"The first run in Q2 we were a little bit out of sync with other cars, and then in run two the out-lap was a little bit messy, it is the way it is.

"It probably didn’t change much our final position."

Asked how he would approach F1's historical sprint qualifying premiere, a pragmatic Alonso said: "This is like the qualifying and tomorrow the first stint of the race, and then we stop for one night and continue the race on Sunday!

"So it is going to be interesting to learn and see what we can improve from this performance."

While he only qualified P13, Ocon claimed to be much happier with his overall pace after a troubling display in F1's recent triple-header.

Ocon's strange underperformance in France and in Austria compelled Alpine to supply its driver with a new chassis for this weekend's British Grand Prix.

"I’m happy, I’m happy because we were one second off the pace in the last Austria race, and this time we were where the car was," he said.

"I felt like it was a massive step, I have to thank the guys for the job they did the whole week, searching and trying to get rid of any doubts, and we definitely have more pace.

"It’s a shame about that last run, it was a mess on track, a lot of cars overtaking the queue and that made us struggle with the tyres a little bit.

So we lost the chance to start the lap and that was it, that’s what we needed to get into Q3. But the pace is back and that is good news."

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