Fernando Alonso has said his confidence is still on the up despite a difficult start to his return in Formula 1.
Alonso’s struggles have been very well-documented and further emphasised by the fact that his team-mate, Esteban Ocon, is very much the driver on top in this particular team-mate battle.
The two-time World Champion thought it would only take three or four races to get fully back up to speed, but he has now extended that timeline after saying in an interview with RACER that it will now take “eight or nine” races to be back at 100 per cent.
That being said, his confidence levels are still rising.
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“I feel more and more confident with every race,” Alonso said in Alpine’s team preview.
“I think we can see that it’s taking a bit of time for the drivers who are in new teams this year to adapt and it’s the same for me.
“It’s a process and we’re always learning and trying to find ways to improve the car.
“But we are aware that 2022 is going to be an important year and this is in a way a year of preparation.
“The car has gone well at races like Portimao and Barcelona, so we are confident that we can build on these performances and lessons to score more consistent points and fight with the teams around us in the championship.”
Focusing more specifically on Baku, Alonso is looking forward to racing on a track which has developed a great habit of throwing up unpredictable results.
“I always like to race here in Baku,” he said.
“It’s a good circuit with many challenging corners and overtaking opportunities.
“After two races in a row – where it was quite difficult to overtake – it’s nice to have one where there are more options. I qualified outside the top 10 in my last two races here, but finished inside the points.
“It just goes to show that anything can happen in what is usually a very unpredictable weekend.
“The circuit has a mix of areas where the priority is top speed, while the middle sector is more dependent on downforce and mechanical grip.
“It’s a demanding weekend for both car and driver and it will be very important to find a good balance with the set-up.”