Alpine watching the skies after ‘busy and chaotic’ practice

Fresh from Esteban Ocon’s maiden Grand Prix victory in Hungary before the summer shutdown, the Alpine time was back in action on Friday with the weather at Span-Francorchamps proving a major focus.

Fernando Alonso finished the day with the fourth-quickest time in FP2, while Ocon was seventh quickest despite a mishap on his qualifying run which saw him lucky to keep the car off the barriers.

“It’s great to be back in the car after the summer break. Today has been busy and chaotic in all the ways possible with the weather conditions,” said the 24-year-old french driver.

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“I had a spin in FP2, but I was just pushing a bit to find the limit and it was slippery out there,” he noted. “Fortunately there was no damage done.

“Today has been busy and chaotic in all the ways possible with the weather conditions,” he continued. “It kept changing throughout the day, meaning we had to adapt to both damp and dry conditions.

“Overall though we look quite competitive with similar characteristics to our performance last year, which is good news,” he said. “Qualifying is tomorrow and that’s when it matters.”

His team mate Fernando Alonso – who this week confirmed he would be staying at Alpine for 2022 – was also finding the weather conditions to be compelling.

“We were looking at the sky all morning and afternoon as it wasn’t a completely dry circuit to start both of the sessions,” he said. “This impacted our day a little bit, but I think we have a good baseline for tomorrow.

“The weather will be the thing for us all to watch as it’s looking slightly unknown heading into qualifying. If it’s dry, I’m quite confident of a strong result.”

Racing director Davide Brivio said that it had been a challenging day for the team but overall a positive one as they aim to continue their run of recent success that has put them into fifth place in the constructors standings ahead of AlphaTauri.

“From our point of view, it’s been a good day and we did our best with the conditions,” he said. “We’ve collected some good information and that gives us some work to do to make further improvements for tomorrow.

“We will keep trying to guess the weather and we’re certainly expecting some rain both for tomorrow and Sunday. We will keep working and see what happens over the next two days. For now, we’re happy with our Friday’s work.”

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