Alpine F1 Team ran with both cars inside the top five in Friday Practice as preparations started for this weekend’s BWT Styrian Grand Prix in Austria.
Esteban Ocon finished in third place in Free Practice 2 after the low fuel, Soft (C4) tyre runs, with Fernando Alonso 0.037secs adrift in fifth.
In Free Practice 1, both drivers started the day on Hards (C2) setting continuous laps to get up to speed on the ten-turn, 4.318km circuit. Fernando had three laps deleted as he pushed to find the limit, in particular at Turns 9 and 10 where, for this year, the kerbs have been removed on the exit of the corners.
After completing their Soft tyre runs, with Fernando sixth and Esteban seventh, the pair ended the session on high fuel on the same compound.
Both drivers were quick out of the garage in Free Practice 2 with the risk of rain looking high in the area. Fernando briefly occupied first place on Mediums (C3) in the early running. Esteban too had a turn at the top of the timesheets after setting a 1min 5.790secs on his first push lap on Softs. As others completed their laps on Softs, Esteban settled into third place on the leaderboard with Fernando in fifth.
The team ended its day on high fuel with both drivers assessing the Medium tyres.
Esteban Ocon Happy With P3 Finish
While he wasn’t exactly bouncing off the walls, Esteban Ocon was happy with the progress he and the team made during the day, culminating in a P3 finish in FP2.
“It’s been a busy Friday for us with lots of things completed. Having both cars well into the top ten is positive but it is only Friday and we need to stay focused and keep working on the areas that we can improve. Nevertheless, it’s been a productive day and we look forward to tomorrow. It’s nice to be third on the timesheets and hear ‘you’re P1’ on the radio for a short moment, but it’s only FP2 and tomorrow is when it counts,” said Ocon.
Smooth Friday For Fernando Alonso
After a smooth day with no rain, Fernando Alonso feels there is still more to come as he looks forward to a strong qualifying session.
“It was a smooth Friday for us today. We were all expecting a wet free practice session, but the weather stayed on the dry side, so we completed our normal programme. The car felt good straight away in FP1 and I think there is more pace to come as we didn’t quite put everything together. That gives me confidence heading into qualifying tomorrow so hopefully we should be in for a competitive weekend,” added Alonso.