Fernando Alonso enjoyed a ‘decent’ couple of practice sessions at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Friday, with the Spaniard ending inside the top five in both.
The BWT Alpine F1 Team driver was third fastest in the first session as the FIA Formula 1 World Championship made its return to Canada for the first time since 2019, and he followed that up by setting the fifth fastest time in the second session.
Alonso says the current generation of Formula 1 cars make the track in Montréal a much different challenge compared to what it used to be, but it was good for him to get as much track running as he could to prepare for the rest of the weekend.
“I think it was another decent Friday for us today,” said Alonso. “The car seems to be performing quite well at this challenging track here in Montreal.
“We haven’t raced in Canada for a number of years and it does feel a bit different than in previous years. Things like riding the kerbs gives a very different feeling with the ground effect cars.
“Overall, it was a good experience today. It looks like it could be a mixed weather forecast tomorrow, so we tried to get as much data as we could in preparation for the race.”
“Hopefully we can make the most of the opportunities” – Esteban Ocon
Team-mate Esteban Ocon also feel like Alpine have a competitive car in Canada, even if part of his first session was affected by a braking issue caused by an errant plastic bag.
The Frenchman, who has not raced at the venue since 2018, was forced to pit early in first practice due to the issue, and although he was able to resume his running not too long later, he was unable to better fifteenth.
Ocon had a better second session and placed inside the top ten, and despite his missed running early on, he felt it was a productive day for the team, and he hopes to make the most of the car in Saturday’s Qualifying session.
“It feels good to be back in Montreal and drive here after four years away for me,” said Ocon. “Today was all about getting back to grips with the track and understanding it.
“It’s important to tune the car and optimise it as best as we can for a track like this and I think we used both sessions well for that today. We were a bit unlucky early in FP1 with the plastic bag getting stuck in my front right brake and losing time, but it was a productive day nevertheless.
“We missed the rain by minutes today but looks like it will be wet tomorrow and we might see a bit of a shuffle in the order of cars, which could make it interesting.
“From the looks of it, we have a competitive car, so hopefully we can make the most of the opportunities.”