Esteban Ocon Flying Under Searing Sun

2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, Friday - Esteban Ocon (image courtesy Alpine F1 Team)

Alpine F1 Team started its Hungarian Grand Prix weekend with a smooth Friday practice at a hot, sweaty Hungaroring as Formula 1 returned to a regular practice programme following the excitement of the Sprint format in Silverstone.

Esteban Ocon finished the day as the fourth quickest driver after setting a 1min 17.759secs on Soft (C4 tyres) in the afternoon with Fernando Alonso seventh on a 1min 18.169secs.

Temperatures were searing throughout the day on the outskirts of the Hungarian capital, Budapest – peaking towards 33C ambient and over 60C on the track surface of the 4.381km twisty circuit.

Alonso had a high-speed spin at Turn 4 15 minutes into the opening session, escaping with minor damage to a front wing strake. Esteban enjoyed a smoother start to his day, running on Hards (C2) with an aero rake fitted to his car for evaluations.

On Softs, Alonso ended Free Practice 1 in sixth with Ocon eleventh on the same compound.

In the afternoon, both drivers began on Mediums (C3) before turning their attention to low fuel runs on Softs, then rounding off the day with high fuel running in preparation for Sunday’s 70-lap race with Alonso assessing Mediums and Ocon Softs.

2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, Friday - Esteban Ocon (image courtesy Alpine F1 Team)
2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, Friday – Esteban Ocon (image courtesy Alpine F1 Team)

Esteban Ocon

“It was a good Friday practice overall. The conditions were very tricky with the heat, which must be a record here. I’ve never seen track temperatures above 60C in my career! It’s very challenging to deal with the warm temperatures and having to manage the tyres, brakes and the car is a big exercise. Understanding all of that is key, but it looks like it will be much cooler tomorrow. Today we were competitive, and the car felt decent on the one lap we did on Softs. It’s a positive start to the weekend, I enjoy driving here, but tomorrow we have to keep working hard for qualifying, which we know is an important session at this track.”

Fernando Alonso

“It was an OK day. Obviously the Hungaroring is a very different type of circuit to Silverstone, and you really need to adapt to these low speed corners and the amount of action around a lap. We tested a few different things on the car, some of which were thinking about these very high temperatures in Budapest. We don’t have a perfect balance yet so we will have to do a lot of work tonight, but we are getting close, so overall it’s a productive day.”

Davide Brivio, Racing Director

“We had two positive sessions, particularly with Esteban who felt comfortable in the car and showed some decent pace on both tyre compounds. Fernando still has a little way to go to improve the car to his exact liking, but we collected a lot of useful data on long runs and different tyres and can improve tomorrow. The final results are good, but it is difficult to read much into the classifications today, especially as the weather may change tomorrow. So, for now, we need to keep our heads down, keep working, have a good qualifying and keep ourselves focused.”

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