BWT Alpine F1 Team’s Fernando Alonso was led only by the likes of Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari by the end of Friday running at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, earning fifth and fourth in Free Practice One and Free Practice Two, respectively. He had also set the fastest sector three time in the second session, further highlighting his pace and A522’s speed on the Baku City Circuit’s lengthy back straight.
After a “normal” Friday programme, Alonso said that there are a few elements of the set-up that need to be perfected to ensure that the performance found during practice will continue into qualifying.
“It is always tricky here in Baku with the windy and fast circuit conditions. But I think we had a normal Friday today and we were able to test some of our new items. We still need to optimise a few things on the setup of the car ahead of Qualifying tomorrow.
“However, we seem fast today, so we’ll work overnight to ensure we keep this sort of pace tomorrow. We seem fast on the straights and it’s sometimes a setup compromise with this type of circuit, but let’s see how we go tomorrow.”
“Confidence is key around here” – Esteban Ocon
Team-mate Esteban Ocon had a successful Friday’s running ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, finishing Free Practice One tenth on the timesheets and ending the day in ninth after Free Practice Two. The French driver was also fastest in the final sector speed trap in the second session.
Ocon said that getting in lots of laps during practice was important in order to become comfortable with the high-speed street circuit and perfect its braking points. He is confident in the pace of the A522 based on running so far, and hopes to see that success continue in qualifying tomorrow.
“It was a decent day for us overall. Baku is a place where you really need to make the most of these practice sessions and get the laps in.
“Confidence is key around here, similar to Monaco, and there are many braking points that you need to hit properly as there is plenty of lap time to be found in those. The car seems competitive after today, so that’s good to see, but we’ll have to put it all together tomorrow.”