Alpine "in a position to fight" at Portimao - Ocon

Esteban Ocon believes Alpine is in "a position to fight" at the front of the Formula 1 midfield after a strong performance in Friday's practice for the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Alpine "in a position to fight" at Portimao - Ocon

Alpine struggled to compete with midfield leaders McLaren, Ferrari and AlphaTauri through the first two race weekends of the year, scoring just three points across both Bahrain and Imola.

But the French team appeared to make a big step forward on Friday in Portugal as Fernando Alonso and Ocon finished fifth and sixth in second practice at Portimao.

The performance gave Alpine hope that it would be able to take the fight to the midfield front-runners after failing to do so in the opening two race weekends.

"I think it will be close tomorrow, it will be a tough battle with everybody, looking at how close the times are," Ocon said.

"This track is still a challenge for everybody. The grip has improved compared to last year, but it's still quite tricky out there. It's moving quite a lot. It will be a fight. It was good enough for today, but tomorrow will be tight.

"For sure, for sure. It leaves us optimistic. Fernando is very quick as well, so there's all the reasons we can be very happy about today, and we are in a position to fight tomorrow."

Read Also:

Alpine has brought updated parts to both Imola and Portimao in a bid to find more performance, with Ocon reporting positive progress in the team's understanding of the A521 car.

"For sure we are working towards improving the car, understanding and as I said, extract the maximum out of the platform," Ocon said.

"We are finding little bits here and there constantly, which is very positive. But yeah, we need to do that tomorrow. It's only FP2."

Alonso said that the team did not feel much need to make big changes to the set-up of the car through the day, with the baseline being comfortable to work from.

But the Spaniard was uncertain that the pecking order would change too much compared to the last two races.

"Obviously it's only Friday as you said, but we were comfortable from the lap one, and we didn't touch much with the set-up because everything felt reasonably OK," Alonso said.

"We have to wait and see tomorrow. I think the positions will not be too different compared to Imola or Bahrain.

"I don't think there is any big changes in the order. I think it's just a different Friday, different approach maybe comparing teams, but yeah, let's see, fingers crossed we can keep this pace tomorrow."

shares
comments

Related video

Norris not confident of making Q3 in Portimao

Previous article

Norris not confident of making Q3 in Portimao

Next article

Ilott explains ‘wobbly’ helmet buffeting during F1 practice debut

Ilott explains ‘wobbly’ helmet buffeting during F1 practice debut
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Portuguese GP
Teams Alpine
Author Luke Smith
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Imola 1994: Memories from Ayrton Senna’s F1 rivals Prime

Imola 1994: Memories from Ayrton Senna’s F1 rivals

The tragic events of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix changed Formula 1 forever. Here, 17 of the drivers who took part explain how they coped with the devastating deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021