Alonso 'annoyed' after being trounced by Ocon in Portimao qualifying

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Fernando Alonso was left "annoyed" as a dramatic loss of grip left him only 13th on the grid for the Portuguese Grand Prix.

After being closely matched in practice, the Spaniard was almost a second slower than teammate Esteban Ocon in Q2 in qualifying at Portimao.

This as all drivers struggle to maintain a consistent level of performance on the slippery track surface.

“It was a good weekend in general, but then in qualifying unfortunately we lost a lot of grip,” Alonso told reporters.

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“I was a little bit annoyed that we lost 0.8s between FP3 and qualifying, even with less fuel in qualifying, so there is something to understand a little bit better.

“I felt the car had no grip in qualifying, unfortunately. But anyway, the race is tomorrow, qualifying is just the starting position and the points are given on Sundays."

Indeed, Alonso still has solid aspirations for Sunday, mostly thanks to the free tyre choice.

“Outside of the top 10 you can choose the tyres to start the race on and hopefully that can give us an advantage," he added.

“The target is to get some points tomorrow. We still have a chance but every race hopefully we get better and better and understand more about the car and the tyres.”

In contrast, Ocon was able to extract most of the improved pace that Alpine has shown all weekend at Portimao, securing sixth on the grid for the race.

“Feeling good, it’s fantastic to be able to get back to those positions, so close to the top five as well,” he said.

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“Thanks to the team because they kept working hard, the dedication, and it made the difference today. A huge step with the car from yesterday to today and we keep on searching and digging to find what the car is capable of.

“It will be a tight race but we are starting up there, so I’ll take that for tonight already. Some cars will start on the medium tyres, some on the softs, so it will be an interesting race, but we take the benefit from starting near the front.”

Alpine had brought a raft of upgrades to Imola but appear to have better optimised them around Portimao.

Asked what the main difference was, however, Ocon wasn't sure but was confident the gains would be sustained.

“I think we can keep that progress going forwards. Some of the changes we have done are circuit-specific but I’m pretty sure we can keep that pace for the whole year,” he said.

“I can’t really put my hand on it, but that is the aim.”