Alpine delighted by return to 'normal' after strong French GP practice

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

There was smiles all-round at Alpine after both drivers finished inside the top six in practice at the French Grand Prix.

This weekend's home race is a big one for the rebranded Renault outfit, who have seen their season stumble a little bit with only one car in the points at the last three races.

And it couldn't have begun much better as Alpine led the midfield on Friday at Paul Ricard, leaving Fernando Alonso admitting a sense of relief.

“Yes, in a way," the double world champion said.

Also Read:

"We were all questioning ourselves: what was happening in Monaco and Baku? We still don’t have all the answers, but it seems more normal, our level of competitiveness here, and this is a positive thing for the rest of the year, for sure.”

Perhaps more surprisingly, Alonso's best time, which put him P4, was within half a second of the fastest lap set by Max Verstappen.

"Yes it was fast, it was fast for us today," he conceded. "The car felt good, we experimented a little bit with the set-up in FP1, FP2. Not a clear answer yet, but yes, it seems to work fine so far.

“Hopefully we can keep this speed into tomorrow, but yes, I think at the end of the day, the moment of truth it’s going to be very, very close in the midfield and a couple of tenths will change a lot. So let’s see if we are in that higher part.”


Paul Ricard is also a home race for Esteban Ocon, who signed a new three-year contract with Alpine until 2024 earlier this week.

And the 24-year-old from Normandy, while happy in P6, wasn't completely satisfied.

“It’s what we were expecting, or hoping, I would say," he said of the team's Friday resurgence.

"It does look good at the moment. I think the pace of the car has been pretty strong today; it’s only Friday so we need to keep looking at what we can do exactly tomorrow, but yes, we still have a few areas that we can do better.”