Fernando Alonso finished his Friday running with an eighth place in Free Practice Two, but admits the conditions at Paul Ricard made things tricky.
Both he and team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne were caught out throughout the practice sessions, with Vandoorne spinning in both and Alonso spinning in the closing minutes of FP2. Nevertheless, the Spaniard still put a lap together that was good enough to see him finish eighth.
This was the first time that many drivers had driven a Formula 1 car around Paul Ricard outside of its usual testing use. Alonso was pleased with the running, commenting that he found it ‘grippy’, even with the tricky weather conditions – especially the wind.
“Conditions were a bit tricky today – the wind played a big role in FP1, then changed direction this afternoon,” he commented.
“The track is close to the seas, so we’ll get changeable winds all the time.
“It was a fairly regular Friday, spent trying to understand and learn the circuit and develop a good base set-up.
“The track is good; very smooth, the new asphalt is very grippy, which is always a help for a driver. I quite like the last sector, Turns 11 and 12 are quite challenging, so we may well see some action there on Sunday.
“There might also be a possibility to alter your racing line to follow the car ahead a little bit more closely. Let’s see if that results in some overtaking during the race.”
Due to a VSC disruption in the second practice session, the team was unable to collate all of the long-run tyre information that they wanted, but Alonso is convinced that they will be able to make up for lost running time tomorrow.
“Due to the VSC at the end of FP2, we’re still missing a little bit of long-run info about the tyres – but we’ll try to recover that in tomorrow’s practice. There are a couple of set-up possibilities still to explore tomorrow, so hopefully, we’ll be a bit more competitive.”