Fernando Alonso had a spring in his step after qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix, enjoying himself on his way to P9 on the grid for Sunday’s race.
The Alpine drivers had contrasting fortunes at the Red Bull Ring as Esteban Ocon was caught out and ended up P17 in a disappointing qualifying session for the Frenchman, while Alonso fared rather better by making it into Q3.
He was clearly having a good time in his car, looking close to the pace throughout and competing well in his A521. While he qualified ninth, Yuki Tsunoda’s three-place grid drop for impeding Valtteri Bottas will see Alonso promoted to P8 come the start of the race.
“Beautiful,” Alonso enthused over team radio. “That was so enjoyable. Whatever the position will be, I did enjoy it.”
The two-time former World Champion feels his team are heading in the right direction and is pleased to see the improvements being made to his car are having the correct effect.
“Yes, I’m happy. I’m in a happy mood, happy days, happy weekends…because I think from Baku, the P6, everything seems to be in our way,” a buoyant Alonso said to Sky Sports F1 after the session.
“Today the car was enjoyable to drive. It was good grip, I felt the car [was] good and the top 10 probably was the maximum today from the car.
“In terms of tomorrow’s race, I think we have to keep an eye on the tyres. The degradation is going to be a point tomorrow.
“And then on the sky because our forecast at least says rain for tomorrow. If that happens, it’s a little bit unknown.”
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Rain has been predicted throughout the Styrian Grand Prix weekend but, barring a light shower at the start of FP2, no wet weather has shown up yet.
While that would throw up an interesting new dimension heading into the race on Sunday, Alonso would rather deal with what is already known and wants to build on the progress he and his team have made at the Red Bull Ring.
“I think at this point, I would prefer dry [weather] because we did zero laps in the wet this weekend,” he explained.
“I know it’s the same for everybody, but it’s nice to always have one practice at least in the wet – and not going into the race with new conditions.
“Let’s see. Whatever happens, we’ll take it.”
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