Alpine F1 Team’s executive director, Marcin Budkowski, was encouraged to see both drivers competing alongside McLaren F1 Team and Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow as the team scored double points in Portimao.
The French-based company have only managed to score three points in the opening two races, a disappointing start to the campaign who most likely had ambitions to compete for the third position in the constructors’ championship.
However, Alpine was the standout car in the Portuguese Grand Prix, constantly in the top five in the three practice sessions before Esteban Ocon recorded their season-best qualifying result in sixth.
The Frenchman finished the Sunday race in seventh, ahead of the two Ferrari’s and Mclaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, while his team-mate Fernando Alonso fought from thirteenth to finish eighth, his best result since returning to the sport.
Budkowski wants Alpine to be in that position every race, fighting against Ferrari and McLaren as they throw themselves back into the midfield battle.
“It was an entertaining race for us today, with lots of close battles and overtakes for both drivers, rewarded by good points at the finish line.
“We were fighting with Ferrari and McLaren and this is where we want to be. Formula 1 is more fun when you’re racing near the front! Today’s race was well managed from start to finish.”
It wasn’t the best start for either driver in the opening stages as Ocon dropped behind Lando Norris and Alonso fell to fifteenth.
However, the second stint was incredibly strong as both switched onto hard compound tyres, which saw the Spaniard produce three overtakes to get into the top ten.
Alpine’s executive director called their strategy ‘spot on’ but admits that the A521 can go even faster in the next few races.
“Our strategy was spot on, both drivers managed their first stint well then were able to push on the Hard tyres in the second, enjoying themselves and making up positions.” He said. “We’re on a good trajectory after this weekend thanks to the hard work by the team at the track, in Enstone and in Viry.
“There’s still pace to be found, though, for the next few races and that all begins next week when we go racing again in Barcelona.”