Fernando Alonso missed out on some track time in both free practice sessions at the Red Bull Ring on Friday but still managed to complete his planned programme for the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team.
The Spaniard finished the opening session in ninth, only 0.227 seconds behind team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, in what was a good session for the McLaren team, and he was able to continue this pace into Free Practice 2, finishing in eighth, which was good after spending most of the afternoon in the garage after his mechanics needed to replace a damaged floor.
After struggling a little with the balance of his MCL32, Alonso had a couple of off-track moments, but despite his struggles, he knows the team were able to collect some valuable information, which he hopes will help them progress further on Saturday and the rest of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend.
“Everyone was looking for the limit today,” said Alonso. “We saw many offs – but tomorrow everyone will calm down.
“Our day was not too bad. We eventually completed our programme, despite missing a little bit of track time in both sessions – this afternoon, I hit a kerb and slightly damaged the floor, so we had to change it.
“However, we were able to collect some valuable information, which we’ll now go through in detail, looking at everything we tested and what we can do with it for tomorrow.”
The weather was the hot topic on Friday, as teams were told there was an 80% chance of rain in Spielberg. Despite rain clouds coming close to the circuit, the rain stayed away but for the weekend it’s looking unstable, and Alonso believes as they have nothing really to lose, some unexpected rain is always welcome.
“There are seven or eight drivers all within a few tenths of each other,” added Alonso. “Tomorrow, we’ll find out if we’re in the upper or lower part of this group.
“Finally, the weather looks unstable for both Saturday and Sunday. Unless you’re fighting for the championship, some unexpected rain is always welcome. That can go either way for you, but when you have little to lose it usually works fine…”