“Feels good to be back,” Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon optimistic about the Canadian GP

The Alpine duo of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon gave their thoughts on how the practice sessions had gone for them.

Esteban Ocon (L) and Fernando Alonso (R)
The Alpine duo of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon

Alpine had a very encouraging Friday – especially Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard first finished 3rd in FP1, and then followed that up with a 4th in FP2. With Charles Leclerc’s grid penalty incoming, it is possible that Alonso may be able to use this pace to get himself ahead of the consistently third-best Mercedes.

Esteban Ocon‘s Friday was much more challenging than that of his teammate. He finished 15th in FP1, a session where he was disrupted by a plastic bag getting stuck in his tire, and then 10th in FP2. But Ocon has had a good season, having finished in the points in all races except two. One of those two happened due to a penalty he received from two separate incidents with Lewis Hamilton. Interestingly, he had also received a 5-second penalty in Imola for an unsafe release involving him and Lewis Hamilton.

Moreover, the Frenchman has a good record in Canada and has scored points both times he has raced there, finishing 6th in 2017 and 9th in 2018. As for the car, it would seem that the A522 suits the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve very well. These aspects bode well for Alpine, who would be hoping for an even better rest of the weekend. And they certainly may be in for one.

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Fernando Alonso on Friday: “It was a good experience.”

Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso had an especially encouraging Friday.

It seems the A522 has high tire degradation, which is why Fernando Alonso did the long-run simulations with hard tires, instead of the medium preferred by Red Bull. In fact, he was quicker than Max Verstappen by 2 tenths on the long runs. This must be a very encouraging statistic for Alpine.

In his interview posted on Formula 1’s official website, Fernando Alonso seemed satisfied with his performance in the practice sessions but still emphasized that collecting more data was imperative, as Formula 1 has not raced in Montreal since 2019, and because of the possibility of rain.

“I think it was another decent Friday for us today. The car seems to be performing quite well at this challenging track here in Montreal. We haven’t raced in Canada for a number of years and it does feel a bit different than in previous years.”

“Things like riding the kerbs give a very different feeling with the ground effect cars. Overall, it was a good experience today. It looks like it could be a mixed weather forecast tomorrow, so we tried to get as much data as we could in preparation for the race.”

His teammate, Esteban Ocon also gave his thoughts on the day:

“It feels good to be back in Montreal and drive here after four years away for me. Today was all about getting back to grips with the track and understanding it. It’s important to tune the car and optimise it as best as we can for a track like this and I think we used both sessions well for that today.”

Ocon was annoyed at having gotten a plastic bag stuck in his tires, but concluded that it was in fact a productive day for the team, and that they look to have a competitive car.

“From the looks of it, we have a competitive car, so hopefully we can make the most of the opportunities.”

Alpine has not finished on the podium yet this season, but Canada looks as good a place as any to try for one. Fernando Alonso looks the most likely candidate to achieve that.

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