Fernando Alonso admits his lack of running during Thursday’s first practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix has left him lacking in confidence at this stage of the weekend.
FP1 and FP2 take place on Thursday in Monte Carlo, with Friday a day off from track action before the final practice session and qualifying as usual on Saturday. Alonso missed out on significant running in first practice due to a brake-by-wire issue that he wanted investigating, and admits the lack of mileage at the start of the weekend has more of an impact on the street circuit.
“It was tough — the first session we missed it with a problem with the brakes and I am quite disappointed because it is a circuit that you need as many laps as possible to build your confidence,” Alonso said. “We’ve missed that one but the guys did a great job and the car was fully ready for FP2, so we recovered some of those laps.
“I think there is still more to come for us and a little bit of lap time here and there but this is Monaco so hopefully we’ll put a lap together on Saturday.
“Not fully [confident] yet, there is still more time needed in FP3 and I think with track evolution also you drive one car in FP1 and one car in FP2 and a completely different car in qualifying because you are two seconds quicker.
“We need to adapt and we need to be flexible on that. Qualifying is 99% of the race here so you need to put that lap together in qualifying on Saturday then the race is a little bit easier.”
Despite his comments, Alonso was still ninth fastest in the second practice session, within 0.1s of teammate Stoffel Vandoorne as both McLarens performed strongly in FP2.
While the race is expected to be a one-stop even with the introduction of the softest tire compound of the Pirelli range — the hypersofts — Alonso also believes higher degradation levels could cause a few issues on Sunday.
“They were good — over one lap there is clearly more performance and it is a better tire. I think on the long runs there is more degradation… it is probably a little bit higher than we expected and I think that is interesting from a race point of view. I think they perform as good as we thought.”