The Alpine team is a pleasant surprise so far this weekend in Portugal. After a lot of problems at the opening of the season and only three points won in the first two appearances, the A521 car on the Algarve International track looks much more competitive.
Unfortunately for the French team, only one driver managed to use it for a good starting position. Alpine first drew attention during their second free practice, when Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso finished in the top six.
In the qualifiers, only one driver, Ocon, succeeded. He managed to enter Q3 and win a very good sixth starting position. Of the drivers of the so-called central part of the standings, he was beaten only by Carlos Sainz in Ferrari.
“Until this weekend, the car was not in the condition we wanted, but we persistently searched, dug, and came here with some things we wanted to test. I think we've made a huge step this weekend in terms of performance and feeling in the car.
” “On a track that was quite awkward for us last year, we have now achieved the best placement this year, so the weekend is very positive and we hope to continue to make progress in the same way and maintain this level of performance,” the French driver said.
Ocon pointed out that they managed to do great things between training on Friday and Saturday's program and that the difference in car behavior was like night and day. However, he was not the most satisfied with his final qualifying round.
"It was not the best lap, I must say, unfortunately. I’m a little disappointed with the sixth place because I could have reached fifth place today. " "A great lap was the one in Q2. If I had driven such a lap in Q3, it would have been a different story, but the conditions were a bit harder for everyone, ”Ocon explained.
And what else should Fernando Alonso say, who concluded his qualifications already in Q2 in the 13th position. He was more than eight-tenths of a second behind his teammate. "In the qualifiers, we lost a lot of grips. I was a bit irritated because we lost eight-tenths of a second between the third training and qualifying, even with less fuel in the car, so that's something we need to study better.
" "But the race is on Sunday. Qualifications are only used to determine starting positions, and points are shared on Sunday. " "Outside of the top 10 we can choose which tires to start the race on and I hope that will give us an advantage. The goal is to win some points ", says the Spaniard. The race for the Grand Prix of Portugal runs from 4 pm