Alonso sees opportunity for Aston to gain 'big advantage'


Fernando Alonso is hoping that this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal will offer Aston Martin the opportunity to bounce back from a rough run of form in recent races.

Alonso didn't get the chance to set a representative lap time in a first practice session delayed by an intense hailstorm just before the start, and then by a red flag for Zhou Guanyu crashing in the Sauber.

But it was a different matter in the second hour, where a well-timed run on slick tyres during a brief easing in the rain and drizzle enabled Alonso to claim top honours at the end of the day.

"It was a tricky Friday for the entire field due to the weather with not many laps recorded, particularly in FP1," Alonso reported after the end of the day's track activity. "Not many laps in FP1, not many laps in FP2.

"The conditions meant the track was never fully wet or fully dry," he continued.. "Not proper laps in dry conditions and not proper laps in wet conditions, we were in the middle of nowhere.

"But it could be like this in qualifying and the race so today could provide very useful information for the rest of the weekend.

"We need to analyse a little bit the data and be very sharp tomorrow. I think the right decision can gain you five seconds. The wrong decision, you're out of the race.

"If the conditions are the same tomorrow, those that are sharp in qualifying and make the right decision on tyres could gain a big advantage and aiming to make the most of that.

"It’s going to be an interesting weekend," he suggested. "It’s going to be a gamble always in which tyre to put in which moment. Let’s see if we get it right.”

As well as the inclement conditions, the drivers also have another complicating factor this weekend in the form of the newly resurfaced track of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.

"Seems okay," was Alonso's initial verdict. "Obviously it’s not very clean after the storm. It’s quite dusty, but at the same time it feels quite good grip so I think the new tarmac is a good one.

“We just need to test it in proper wet conditions, if there is any aquaplaning or something like that," he added.

Alonso's team mate Lance Stroll is also hoping for a positive weekend given that this is his home race. He was third quickest at the end of FP2. “It was a bit of a slow day, the weather and stuff, not much running, not too many laps.

"We at least did some driving [in FP2], did some laps on inters and then a bit on slicks with a drying track, learned a few things," he said.

“New tarmac and stuff is behaving a little bit differently. But it was a good day of learning.

“Some set-up work and a little bit how the tyres are behaving," he replied when asked what the plan was for FP3 on Saturday before qualifying. "The inters and stuff, [this] was the first time this year I think we ran on them.”

Stroll is developing a reputation for performing well in the wet weather and confirmed that he was “comfortable in all the conditions” on Friday which is just as well as Saturday's forecast suggesting more of the same.

"It's always great to be driving in front of my home crowd and we'll be aiming to give them something to cheer in qualifying tomorrow," he said.

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