Double Formula 1 world champion, Fernando Alonso has said he was “happy” with his first day back on a race weekend, despite only managing the 15th fastest time in practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Alonso, who is returning to the championship for the first time since 2018, managed to set a best time of 1m31.770s in the afternoon session on Friday, a tenth slower than his Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon.
Despite being close to his teammate’s best effort, his time will still only good enough for 15th, while in the first session he was one place lower in 16th, positions he would have hoped to escape after his last experience of the series with McLaren.
But although it could have been a better day for Alonso, he was still happy with how his Friday went and he enjoyed being back in the mix on the track.
“It was fantastic to be back in a free practice session today in Formula 1.” said Alonso after practice.
“You feel the extra adrenaline with the traffic and everything going on around you; it’s very different to testing.
“It felt good and I felt the racing spirit each lap, which I enjoyed.
“We got through our programme in the first session in very hot conditions and then some long runs this evening as the track cooled for FP2.
“We do still need to fine tune some of the car setup and analyse the data a bit more, but, overall, I’m happy with my day.”
Alpine Racing Director, Davide Brivio echoed Alonso’s comments, confirming that work needs to be done to optimise the setup on the car, but he feels the team are in a good place and will be able to take a step forward on Saturday.
“We did quite a lot of work today. For FP1, we tried some different settings on the car and then, this evening, the team did a good job and we were able to improve the balance of the car.
“I think we made a step in the second session and we improved our pace.
“Now it’s time for us to analyse what we’ve done and identify the areas where we can make further improvements.
“We will keep looking forward as a team and continue to work. The aim is to make another further step for tomorrow’s practice and get ready ahead of qualifying.”