Fernando Alonso admitted he “was not good enough” during Imola qualifying, but remains hopeful of a top-10 finish in the race.
After having to retire from the season-opener in Bahrain on his return to Formula 1, Alonso will have wanted a strong second race of the campaign to get him going.
Those hopes have not been helped by having to start the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in P15 after dropping out in Q2 and being outqualified by a team-mate for the first time since the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix, with Esteban Ocon qualifying P9.
“I was not good enough, that’s probably the easiest answer,” he told Formula1.com. “I felt good in the car, I felt fast, the balance was good, but by the time I crossed the line it was not good enough to finish in the top 10.
“So I will analyse it. I will try to improve for next time, get better, but anyway the race is tomorrow, the points are gained tomorrow. In Bahrain, Saturday was good, on Sunday we had to retire the car, so hopefully here it is the other way around.
“Saturday so-so, tomorrow we are going to score points.”
To do so, he will have to climb up through the field and while he acknowledges Imola is not the easiest place to do that, there are still incidents which could work in his favour on the day.
“It’s difficult. If [there is anywhere] you want to start high on the grid it’s Imola because it’s very difficult [to overtake],” said Alonso.
“But at the same time, with so many things happening in practice, a lot of red flags, a lot of incidents, it’s a place that creates a lot of drama sometimes in the race, so let’s be there and try to take every opportunity. It’s going to be a hard race, we know that, but we will try anyway.”
Alpine had confirmed they were working on a new upgrade package between this weekend and the race three weeks ago in Bahrain, and Alonso has already felt the improvements in the A521.
He added: “All the new parts we brought here are working fine and definitely a step forward on performance, so happy with the direction and also with the work everybody has put in on the car.
“Definitely the car is faster. Unfortunately, I didn’t maximise that performance today, but hopefully in Portimao both cars will be in Q3 and help the team as much as we can.”