Alpine’s Esteban Ocon is delighted with a “very fast and flowing” Friday Practice after enjoying two positive Practice sessions at 2021 Qatar Grand Prix in Losail, Qatar.
This weekend marks the first time that the Formula One paddock is visiting Losail Circuit for the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix, with Alpine enduring a slightly tough Friday Practice as Ocon finished ninth and 11th in both Practice sessions.
Reflecting on what he has learned across both sessions, Ocon said: “It had some very good surprises for many reasons, so it’s been an enjoyable day. The track was high grip and it was very fast and flowing, which was awesome to drive.
“It brings challenges of places like Sepang and Istanbul rolled into one and that was really good fun to experience.”
Ocon added that it was “challenging” to learn a new track as he focused on nailing his set-up and making progress across every run, yet feels that the day had been “productive” and cannot wait to see what he does in what could be a tight Qualifying session.
Fernando Alonso meanwhile endured a tough day as he finished 17th and 12th fastest in FP1 and FP2 respectively, yet revealed that he believes that Losail is a “really great” circuit to drive in terms of layout and combination of corners.
Although he was outperformed by Ocon in Friday Practice, Alonso added that he had been “enjoying every lap” with positive grip levels and a “solid” car across both sessions.
Alpine Sporting Director, Alan Permane meanwhile was pleased with “very positive” performances from Ocon and Alonso. as the team focused on data gathering to compare with data accumulated on their simulators which paid off with plenty of lessons gathered to work on overnight.
Commenting on their progress, Permane added: “We’ve finished today reasonably happy but, as always, there’s work to do to refine the set-up and find more performance ahead of qualifying tomorrow.
“We’ve started to build a picture on race strategy too, so we’re in a good position ready for the rest of the weekend.”