Alonso “expecting to struggle” in opening races of F1 return

Fernando Alonso said he was satisfied by qualifying in the top 10 on his Formula 1 return in Bahrain, admitting he was "expecting to struggle" in the first few races.

After two years away from the sport, Alonso qualified ninth at Sakhir, taking full advantage of Pirelli's softer tyres in Q2 to book a place in the Q3 shootout.

Despite outqualifying teammate Esteban Ocon, who starts Sunday's curtain raiser in 16th after failing to survive Q1, Alonso said there is still "more to come" from him as the season progresses.

"I have to get better myself first of all because even today it was like the very first time on these gritty tyres and gritty qualifying session," Alonso explained.

"It’s going to be the first time [doing a] formation lap, the traffic lights, the first corner action. It seems like simple things for a racing driver but after two years it’s going to feel again like new for me.

"I was expecting to struggle in these first couple of races, and this first qualifying went well, but I will have to keep working for Imola for sure.

"To start getting the maximum from the car I will need a couple of races probably to get up to speed."

When asked by Motorsport.com if his top 10 spot in a heavily-congested midfield came as a surprise, Alonso replied he hadn't set specific expectations for his first F1 qualifying session since the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

"I don’t know, I didn’t have any expectations on an exact result," the two-time F1 world champion said. "I think we were just waiting to perform our best qualifying possible and then see where we ended up.

"It was not a surprise, but it was nothing that we expected before qualifying, so it’s nice to see that we can be in the top 10 as was the case today.

"At the same time, there are a couple of cars behind us who tried to qualify with the medium and they were not into Q3, so there are some fast cars behind us as well and we are very close.

"You can be eighth, ninth or 14th in one-tenth-and-a-half, so that’s something that we will need to fight [for] every weekend probably."

Read Also:

Along with scoring as many points as possible, the Spaniard also wants to treat Sunday's Bahrain GP as an information gathering round, after not having completed a full race simulation during pre-season testing.

"The 57 laps in a row will again be the first time. I need that information, I need to do 15 or 20 laps with each of the compounds and feel how the degradation is going, how it keeps changing the balance, how to manage those tyres," he added.

"I want to have those lessons in the pocket tomorrow night when we’ve finished the race. If that’s enough to finish P7 fantastic, if it’s P11 okay, if it’s P15 okay as well, but I need that information tomorrow night."

shares
comments

Related video

The rear end overhaul that has transformed Red Bull
Previous article

The rear end overhaul that has transformed Red Bull

Next article

Why Hamilton's taken action on human rights

Why Hamilton's taken action on human rights
Load comments
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Formula 1
Dec 4, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021