Alonso: Areas of performance for us to still unlock

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Alpine F1 Team A521.  Azerbaijan

Alpine enjoyed a positive Friday of practice for the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, both cars in the top ten with Fernando Alonso showing glimpses of his famous form and Esteban Ocon not far behind.

Double Formula 1 World Champion, Alonso has admitted that his comeback was not as plug-and-play as he had expected, the two years away took a bigger toll than he had planned but predicted with confidence that he will get back into the groove around now.

On schedule, the Spaniard ended the day sixth fastest around Baku, overcoming tricky conditions and a myriad of incidents at a track he has not raced on since 2018.

It was a day of high attrition out on a green track, blustery conditions and of course the tricky nature of the venue. Both Alpine drivers did well to avoid any mishaps on a day packed with them for others.

Alonso said in the team report: “It was a positive Friday for us today and good to be back driving in Baku. The car felt good straight away in FP1 and we didn’t play around too much with the setup. We tried some different tyre combinations just to understand the needs of the entire weekend.

“We will take some valuable data from this. Overall, it was a good start to the weekend, but we know there are some other areas of performance for us to still unlock,” explained Alonso.

In the other Alpine, Ocon ended the day ninth, three-tenths and a bit down on his teammate but satisfied with the day’s work: “Overall we had a decent day, with good understanding and lots of data, especially on the longer runs.

“There are obviously some things we need to go through tonight but both cars finished in the top ten in the afternoon. The track was quite dirty this morning but made a huge improvement in FP2.

“On my side, I was not completely happy with the car, but we know the direction we need to take for the rest of the weekend, which is positive: we obviously need to keep this momentum tomorrow,” added the Frenchman.

Alpine racing director Davide Brivio, echoed his drivers: “It was a positive day as we ran through our programme this morning and afternoon. It looks like our performance is not so bad at the moment and we can be fairly satisfied with the day’s work.:

And added of his drivers: “Fernando is quite happy about the car and we made an improvement for Esteban from the morning. Let’s keep the positive trend going for the rest of the weekend.”