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Portuguese GP: Practice team notes - Alfa Romeo

NEWS STORY
23/10/2020

The Circuito do Algarve is not Pico, Portugal's highest peak: but, at least, you can enjoy the undulating landscape of this track in the relatively easy-to-reach southern coast of the country, saving yourself the trek to the (admittedly beautiful) Azores islands, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Once the novelty of the up-and-down layout wears off and the teams get down to the business of learning a new track, however, it's Friday as usual. It's lap after lap of discovering the hidden secrets of the circuit - every bump, every kerb, the evolution of the slippery tarmac - and fine-tuning the car's setup with the long view to qualifying and the race firmly in your mind.

It wasn't all smooth sailing on track: red flags, brought out by various technical issues and a few blows exchanged in the unusually feisty practice sessions, meant our programme was a bit stop-start - but so was everyone's. In the end, despite the disruptions, our total lap count numbered 138 rounds, plenty of data for the engineers to crunch overnight ahead of tomorrow's sessions.

Learning a new track from scratch is never easy: having done a good job on Friday, however, is what is needed to start the race weekend in the right way. Hopefully, unlike on a trip to Pico, tomorrow there won't be a mountain to climb.

Kimi Raikkonen: "It was very slippery out there, but once conditions improve this should be a pretty nice track to drive. It's a fun layout, although I honestly expected it to be a bit trickier before the weekend. The lack of grip was an issue, but I am sure the others were not that happy either. The track will evolve and we will find something to increase the grip - the conditions were already better in FP2, although we ended up losing a lot of time with the red flags. We'll see what steps we can take tonight to be in a good shape for tomorrow."

Antonio Giovinazzi: "I drove on this track in F3, but to go around here in a Formula One car is a completely different experience. It's a really nice layout, with blind crests and challenging corners - a fun one to drive. The track was very green and the grip levels very low, which made especially the morning session quite difficult. In the afternoon, the red flag disrupted our programme as they stopped our low-fuel runs, so we didn't really put a time together: we'll only see tomorrow what our level really is."

Check out our Friday gallery from Portimao, here.

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