Fernando Alonso says he found ways to extract more performance for his Alpine team at the Spanish Grand Prix, while also learning more about the team’s rivals.
Alpine looked particularly competitive in qualifying at the last two races, with Alonso climbing into the points in Portugal but fading after attempting a one-stop in Spain. Despite teammate Esteban Ocon only hanging on to take two points for ninth place after starting fifth, Alonso says there were plenty of valuable lessons to take from Sunday’s race in Barcelona.
“I think we had some good answers on some of the performance of the car and performance of the competitors,” Alonso said. “I think we had more pace in qualifying than the race. I think the racing was even tighter than qualifying, as the performance in the cars seems very similar.
“We did a good start — I think the second best in Portimao and (Barcelona) was also a good start. We are putting things together slowly, step by step, and the most important thing now is to get more performance out of the car on my side. I think we identified areas we can exploit more performance so they are working on that and this week will be intense.”
With 1000 fans in the main grandstand for his home race, Alonso says the whole event was a more encouraging weekend from both a personal perspective and from the team’s level of competitiveness.
“I really enjoyed it. First because it was Barcelona, the home grand prix, so it was a special Sunday. In the grandstand there were not many people but you get a bit of adrenaline when you see the fans and the speaker saying your name, so it was more special this race than the other three for sure.
“The race was fun, lots of battles with different strategy; we’d love to have a better finishing position and score points but it was not possible. The weekend in general was very positive. In Portimao we were competitive but didn’t know if it was only Portimao because of the circuit, but in Barcelona we were competitive again.
“Let’s wait a couple of grands prix but I think we can be the fifth team, behind Ferrari and McLaren. This is good news because in the first two races it was more difficult to be in Q3. There’s still work to do, also on strategy, tire understanding etc., but it is not like here it was a surprise with the tire. It was a risk we took because we wanted to score a point.”