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
How Ferrari has brought the best from F1's smooth operator Prime

How Ferrari has brought the best from F1's smooth operator

As a young boy, Carlos Sainz was schooled by his father in the special folklore surrounding Ferrari in Formula 1. Now an established grand prix ace – and a Ferrari driver to boot – Sainz opens up to BEN ANDERSON about driving for the team of his childhood hero, and of his own boyhood dreams

How Hungarian GP thriller sounded alarm bell for F1 2022 cars Prime

How Hungarian GP thriller sounded alarm bell for F1 2022 cars

OPINION: The 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix may not have been a thrill-a-minute overtaking fest, but it's a race that will live long in the memory as one of the best of the current era of Formula 1. And as Formula 1 moves to regulations in 2022 aimed at boosting overtaking, Hungary showed the balance it must strike with its new machinery as not to deny similarly tense spectacles

Was Hamilton's Hungary solo start a good or bad look for F1? Prime

Was Hamilton's Hungary solo start a good or bad look for F1?

OPINION: Different perspectives had Lewis Hamilton’s solo second standing start in Formula 1’s 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix as fabulous or farcical. But did it make the championship appear too silly for the sake of a moment of high-charged sporting drama?

Why unseen Hungary heroics could be Latifi's making Prime

Why unseen Hungary heroics could be Latifi's making

The chaotic start to the Hungarian GP set the scene for F1's less heralded drivers to make a name for themselves. Esteban Ocon did just that to win in fine style, but further down the order one driver was making his first visit to the points and - while the circumstances were fortunate - took full advantage of the chance presented to him

Formula 1
Aug 3, 2021
Hungarian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Hungarian Grand Prix driver ratings

This was race that showcased the best and worst of Formula 1, producing a first time winner and a memorable comeback to a podium finish. Avoiding trouble at the start and astute strategy calls were key to success, but where some drivers took full advantage, others made key errors that cost them dearly

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The "heart-breaking" call that led to Ocon's Hungarian GP triumph Prime

The "heart-breaking" call that led to Ocon's Hungarian GP triumph

Set to restart the red-flagged Hungarian Grand Prix in second, Esteban Ocon had some doubts when he peeled into the pits to swap his intermediate tyres for slicks. But this "heart-breaking" call was vindicated in spectacular fashion as the Alpine driver staved off race-long pressure from Sebastian Vettel for a memorable maiden Formula 1 victory

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Prime

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall...

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021