Armed with their latest innovations, Esteban Ocon feels Alpine have placed themselves firmly inside the top 10 in Singapore.
With six rounds of the 2022 season to go, Alpine are looking to hold on to P4 in the Constructors’ standings, taking an advantage of 18 points over McLaren into the Singapore Grand Prix.
McLaren introduced changes to Lando Norris’ MCL36 for Singapore, which he stresses are not upgrades, while Alpine also brought an updated challenger to the Marina Bay Street Circuit, rolling out a new floor for Ocon’s and Fernando Alonso’s A522.
The early signs were promising, Ocon ending FP2 up in P6, while Alonso was P8, still almost half a second faster than Norris.
Ocon said it remains an ongoing process to understand the upgrades and how to best utilise them, though is confident that in both one-lap and race pace, Alpine are running comfortably inside the top 10.
“The car has been performing well,” Ocon told reporters. “We’ve been trying to understand our updates, trying to make them work as best as we can. That’s still obviously ongoing, and so far, it’s been going in the right direction.
“I think we look competitive in long runs and short runs, well in the top 10, I think from FP1 to FP2 we also made a good step in terms of performance compared to the top cars in front.
“So, it’s still early days, qualifying is only tomorrow, but I’m pretty pleased about today.”
Fernando Alonso lost some track time in FP1 with a gearbox issue, but the Spaniard is nonetheless confident for qualifying.
The Spaniard believes that he can make further gains by becoming more confident on the brakes through the bumpier corners, naming Turn 5 and Turn 7 as examples.
“We had a small issue in FP1 so we lost a little bit of track time and we tried to recover some laps in FP2,” said Alonso.
“We’re still a little bit running behind schedule on our car, but I think we are confident for tomorrow.
“The car looks quick, we still need to fine-tune the setup and there are a couple of corners that are bumpy still, Turn 5, Turn 7, so try to get a little bit more confidence on braking will be the main priority overnight.”
Asked if he believes that Alpine are firmly planted in that P4 position, Alonso was cautious to make such predictions, explaining that things can change come the “moment of truth” that is qualifying.
But, he sees getting both cars into Q3 as the target.
“Hopefully,” he replied when asked if Alpine are the fourth-fastest team here. “Obviously it is difficult to predict things here because things change very, very quickly on Saturday when the moment of truth comes.
“But I think we should be in a good position to be both cars in Q3, that’s the aim, but we know that we have to execute Saturday, especially Sunday with no mistakes.”