Smooth First Day In Budapest For Alpine

Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso

BWT Alpine F1 Team completed a smooth and trouble-free Friday Practice today as preparations for the final Grand Prix before the summer break started in Budapest, Hungary.

Birthday boy Fernando Alonso ended the day inside the top six on the leaderboard with team-mate Esteban Ocon thirteenth as the Frenchman returned to familiar surroundings, at the circuit which delivered his and Alpine’s first Formula 1 victory one year ago.

Like in France last week, conditions were hot in the Hungarian capital – well over 30C ambient – with the track close to 50C throughout the day.

Both drivers ran a smooth programme – beginning Free Practice 1 with Esteban on Mediums (C3) and Fernando on Hards (C2) before switching to the Softs (C4). For the second session, the drivers reversed their tyres from the first, with Fernando on Mediums and Esteban on Hards. In between a run on Softs, the drivers tested their A522s on high fuel in preparation for Sunday’s 70-lap race.

Esteban Ocon

“It’s great to be back driving in Budapest as lots of great memories came back to me! In terms of our running, it was good to get two practice sessions under our belt. We are still unsure about the weather forecast for tomorrow and today could likely be the only dry running we have before Qualifying or even the Race. We’ve extracted a good understanding on a variety of things, which puts us in good shape for the rest of the weekend. As we know, rain here can make things interesting so let’s see how that pans out and see what we can achieve.”

Fernando Alonso

“It was a productive Friday today and we tried a few different things in terms of the car set-up. The weather looks very changeable tomorrow and Sunday, so who knows what we will be facing, but we gathered some good data and ran a smooth programme in both practice sessions. The car felt quite good and enjoyable to drive, so let’s see what we can do tomorrow. I must say it was also very nice to drive around Budapest on my birthday!”

Pat Fry, Chief Technical Officer

“Today was particularly challenging as the grip on-track was very low, which made things difficult for the drivers. That was a problem which most other teams also struggled with, but the track will continue to clean and improve session by session. We will remain vigilant to the weather as conditions look set to change quite drastically. There’s a high chance of rain tomorrow – possibly for Qualifying – and, already this year, we’ve shown we can be competitive in the wet. Then, we have an eye on Sunday where conditions will be significantly cooler than today. As ever, we have plenty of analysis to conduct to be best prepared for both Qualifying and the Race, and I’d say we’re in pretty good shape as things stand.”

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