Alpine F1 Team ran a productive Friday practice programme today on the opening day of the Pirelli Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend at Imola.
Esteban was involved in an incident, which brought out the first red flag in FP1 after a coming together with Red Bull Racing's Sergio Perez. After a brief trip to the stewards, no further action was taken between the former team-mates. Fernando ended the session in seventh.
Both drivers ran new aerodynamic parts on the A521 to compare and evaluate the planned upgrades to the package.
In FP2, Esteban's 1min 16.817secs on Softs (C4) put him eleventh 0.080secs off the top 10 with Fernando 0.018secs behind the Frenchman in thirteenth. After a series of short runs both drivers focused on high fuel to round off the day.
Esteban Ocon: "We've made a positive start to the weekend even with this morning's incident. Fortunately for Sergio [Perez] and I, we didn't lose too much track time, which is important with the one-hour sessions. The incident was unfortunate, but we were able to put it behind us and move on to the afternoon. The mechanics did a great job in turning the car around on time, so thanks to them for their quick and solid work. I think we have a solid base to work from. There are still some things to tweak with the balance, but the car behaves quite well here and I'm looking forward to pushing on over the next two days."
Fernando Alonso: "It was a good Friday and we completed our programme today with no issues. Apart from the red flags and other incidents that stopped the two sessions, I was happy with the test items we put on the car and I felt an improvement in the performance. Let's see where we are tomorrow and hopefully there is a little more still to come. As we suspected it's going to be very close again so qualifying should be interesting. It was great to drive again in Imola and feel the car in these high grip conditions."
Davide Brivio, Racing Director: "We did a good job today in Friday practice. This morning we had the small accident with Esteban. It wasn't a big issue and there were no major concerns, meaning we could continue with our work for the second session. In the afternoon, we did some short runs and then long runs with different tyres on both cars and showed good pace. Both drivers are quite happy after today. Of course, we know qualifying will be important here. It's a track where overtaking is difficult, so we have to put a lot of effort into tomorrow and aim to put both cars in a good starting position for the race."
Check out our Friday gallery from Imola, here.