It was a strong start to the weekend for the Alpine F1 Team at the Russian Grand Prix, with Esteban Ocon ending the opening day in fifth and Fernando Alonso in eighth at the Sochi Autodrom.
Ocon made an excellent start to the Russian Grand Prix, a round the Frenchman always enjoys. He made excellent progress in the afternoon session to end the day in fifth place, building on his eleventh place finish in the morning Free Practice Session in Sochi.
Alpine were busy all day gathering as much dry-running data as possible, with Saturday looking like a potential washout. Ocon is very pleased with the progress made on the opening day and believes the team have a good idea on what they can do with their set-up.
“It’s good to be back in Sochi as it’s a track that I’ve always enjoyed racing at. It’s high grip, especially in comparison to Monza last time out. We have the Softest tyres on the range here, so that gives us some things to try and understand. It’s been a very busy day for us, busier than a usual Friday, with half an eye on the weather tomorrow and we aimed to be as productive as possible.
“Things could be interesting tomorrow, so optimising today was important. We completed quite a few runs – low fuel and high fuel – and we have a good idea on what we can do on car set-up. Let’s see what the rest of the weekend brings but so far, I’m pleased with our progress.”
“We could have achieved a better lap time” – Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso too had a strong opening day in Russia, the Spaniard was tenth after the morning session before improving to eighth in the Second Free Practice Session. Alonso would have most likely gone faster in the afternoon session, had Antonio Giovinazzi not brought out the red flag after crashing into the wall at turn eight.
Like his team-mate, Alonso is happy with the progress made but isn’t getting too carried away, especially with the high chance of rain on Saturday.
“It was a reasonable day for us today. We don’t know how useful some of the data will be because of the potential rain forecasted for tomorrow, but the car seems to behave okay here. We set up a few different things in FP2 and we found a few benefits, so I am happy with that. We could have achieved a better lap time without the red flag for Antonio (Giovinazzi), but it’s only Friday, so let’s see what tomorrow brings.”