Alpine F1 Team finished with both cars inside the top six at the Algarve International Circuit today as preparations began for this weekend’s Heineken Portuguese Grand Prix.
Fernando Alonso – driving for the first time in Formula 1 in Portugal – was the fifth fastest driver in Free Practice 2, 0.4secs off top spot, with Esteban Ocon just 0.015secs adrift in sixth.
For Free Practice 1, the team ran aero test items on the A521 to assess some further updates to the chassis package. Fernando started his day on Pirelli’s Soft (C3) tyres to bed himself into the circuit with Esteban on Hards (C1).
By the end of the session, Esteban finished tenth, on Soft tyres, with Fernando outside the top ten in fourteenth.
Free Practice 2 was delayed by 10 minutes as minor track repairs were completed at the 4.653km circuit. Both drivers started the session on Mediums (C2) and ran strongly inside the top ten.
At the midway point, both drivers assessed low fuel runs on Softs with Fernando’s 1min 20.220secs good enough for fifth and Esteban’s 1min 20.235secs putting him sixth after a series of push laps.
Both drivers ended the day with long runs, Esteban assessing the Softs and Fernando the Mediums.
Esteban Ocon, #31, A521-05
Free Practice 1: P10, 1:20.800, 27 laps
Free Practice 2: P6, 1:20.235, 31 laps
Esteban: “It was a pretty solid day for us, especially in terms of mileage. We completed a lot of laps and that was quite nice. We tested all the tyre compounds and we have a good read on that ahead of the race on Sunday. This circuit is certainly a tricky track in terms of grip, but I would say it has improved since last season. It’s still a challenge for us and we’re working hard to get a little bit more grip from the car for tomorrow.”
Fernando Alonso, #14, A521-06
Free Practice 1: P14, 1:21.303, 31 laps
Free Practice 2: P5, 1:20.220, 32 laps
Fernando: “It was a good practice day for me and the most comfortable I’ve had this season compared to Bahrain and Imola. I was happy with the setup of the car quite early in the day, so I concentrated mostly on becoming more acclimatised to the circuit and then evaluating the tyres over the two sessions. There is still lots of data for us to analyse, but it’s a good start to the weekend. I enjoyed driving the circuit for the first time in a Formula 1 session, but I think traffic could be a challenge tomorrow in qualifying. It’s an exciting track to drive, that’s for sure.”
Davide Brivio, Racing Director: “I think it was a good day for the team today. It is just Friday, though, and we won’t be looking too much into the timesheets. We were able to test a few things on each car in the morning, and then we completed our usual long runs in the second session on each tyre to collect data and information for the race. The drivers did a good job; it’s Fernando’s first time here in a Formula 1 car, so he was getting used to the track a little bit and Esteban ran very consistently in both sessions. It’s a positive start to the weekend, we’ll keep working hard and see how the next two days unfold.”
Total Laps: 121 laps (58 for Esteban, 63 for Fernando), 563km.
Source: Media Groupe Renault