Alonso sees ‘potential’ as he chases Baku Q3

Jamie Woodhouse
Fernando Alonso Alpine

Fernando Alonso sees plenty of “potential” in the Alpine A521 which he will look to unlock overnight before qualifying for the Azerbaijan GP.

Alonso came into the race weekend with a fair bit of pressure on his shoulders, having struggled so far to adapt to life back in Formula 1.

But the signs are looking very positive in Baku as Alonso finished Friday practice up in P6, a satisfying result for the Spaniard who carried “uncertainties” after his Monaco struggles.

And with Alonso feeling there is more performance still to come from the Alpine, he sees Q3 as a real target for qualifying.

“It was a good Friday, obviously on a street circuit you need to build confidence, you need to do a clean Friday, FP1 and FP2 as many laps as possible,” he told reporters.

“We hit the target on the number of laps, we completed the programme, I think there is some potential in the car to unlock tonight and go faster tomorrow.

“But so far I’m happy with how the weekend has started.

“We came here with some uncertainties after Monaco. We struggled there, and this is another street circuit, so we had to check if we were in a competitive weekend or not.

“It seems that we are okay, it seems that the car is working well, so we are reasonably happy with that.

“The aim is always to be in Q3, to start in the top 10, I think there is a chance to do that after today’s potential.”

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Esteban Ocon was pleased to join team-mate Alonso in the top 10 on Friday, but said at this stage it is performance which matters rather than the positions.

“It’s not the most important today the position, but it is good to see that we have both cars into the top 10,” he said.

“We worked around trying to get more confidence in the car, and together with the track working better the whole time, I think it was quite important to just get my marks around here.”

Ocon added that the A521 was “not perfect yet”, but “we still have a long night ahead to figure that out and make it happen.”

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