Ocon: Important to 'optimise' Friday sessions given weather outlook

© XPB 

Esteban Ocon concluded Friday's running at the Russian Grand Prix fifth in the pecking order as Alpine made the most of the day's sessions ahead of what is expected to be a wet Saturday in Sochi.

With tomorrow's sessions possibly set to be disrupted by heavy rain, teams aimed to be as productive as possible on Friday, with drivers indulging in long runs in preparation for race day while also gauging their pace on low-fuel runs.

After concluding FP1 just outside the top ten, Ocon finished the day P5, 0.809s behind pace setter Valtteri Bottas but 0.360s ahead of Alpine teammate Fernando Alonso who ended FP2 P8.

"It’s good to be back in Sochi as it’s a track that I’ve always enjoyed racing at," said this year's Hungarian Grand Prix winner.

"It’s high grip, especially in comparison to Monza last time out. We have the softest tyres on the range here, so that gives us some things to try and understand.

"It’s been a very busy day for us, busier than a usual Friday, with half an eye on the weather tomorrow and we aimed to be as productive as possible.

"Things could be interesting tomorrow, so optimising today was important. We completed quite a few runs - low fuel and high fuel - and we have a good idea on what we can do on car set-up.

"Let’s see what the rest of the weekend brings but so far, I’m pleased with our progress."

Alonso agreed with his teammate that it had been a reasonably good entry into the weekend for Alpine.

"We don’t know how useful some of the data will be because of the potential rain forecasted for tomorrow, but the car seems to behave okay here," commented the Spaniard.

"We set up a few different things in FP2 and we found a few benefits, so I am happy with that.

"We could have achieved a better lap time without the red flag for Antonio (Giovinazzi), but it’s only Friday, so let’s see what tomorrow brings."

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