Fernando Alonso did not have the easiest of days at the Circuit of the Americas on Friday, with a mechanical issue interfering with his morning session and a crash compromising him in the afternoon.
The Alpine F1 Team driver was unable to break into the top ten in either session on Friday, with Alonso ending fifteenth in the morning and thirteenth in the afternoon.
Alonso is hoping for a smoother day on Saturday after losing track time in the morning and then spinning into the barrier – albeit lightly – at the penultimate turn in the afternoon.
“It was not the easiest day out there for us,” said Alonso. “We had an issue in FP1, but our mechanics fixed it very quickly which was good, and we got some running in.
“It’s quite demanding here with the bumpy surface and track conditions. I clipped the barrier at the end of the session, so it shows how challenging it is. It’s difficult to know where we are in the timesheets, but there is definitely some work for us to do tonight.
“Let’s see what we can do tomorrow and hopefully we have a slightly smoother day.”
“Today for me was like discovering a totally different track” – Esteban Ocon
For team-mate Esteban Ocon, it was a day of learning as he took to the Circuit of the Americas for the first time since 2018, with the bumps making him feel like it was a brand new track.
Ocon sat out the 2019 season after losing his drive with the Racing Point Formula One Team to Lance Stroll, and the 2020 event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Frenchman ended closer to the top ten than Alonso but was unable to break into it in either session on Friday, with Ocon ending twelfth in the morning and eleventh in the afternoon.
“Today for me was like discovering a totally different track to when I was last here in 2018,” said Ocon. “There are a lot more bumps, more dirt on track and some different rules with track limits in places, so it was an interesting challenge today.
“We improved the car from FP1 to FP2 and we still have areas to work on. It’s not perfect or where we want to be, but we can work overnight and see what we can do tomorrow.”