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F1 | Qatar GP | Alonso: “Qatar track is unbelievable”, as he qualifies in an excellent P5 for Alpine

The Spaniard showed impressive pace on Saturday’s qualifying session for the inaugural Qatar GP, qualifying his Alpine car in 5th place for the second time in five races.

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F1 | Qatar GP | Alonso: “Qatar track is unbelievable”, as he qualifies in an excellent P5 for Alpine
Fuente imagen: Hasan Bratic - MotorLAT

Fernando Alonso very much enjoyed driving the Losail circuit in an F1 car. The Spaniard performed superbly in qualifying to nab a top 5 start for the second time in 2021, and the second time in five races. He outpaced teammate Esteban Ocon (P9) by just over three and a half tenths of a second.

Speaking after the session, Alonso said it is "happy days" in the Alpine camp, and pointed out the long corners of the Losail circuit may be a factor in Alpine’s strong form:

"Happy days! The whole weekend has been great for us. The car seems to perform really well in these long corners. I think we did in Turkey as well, we did in Sochi, and here."

At 40 years of age, Alonso shows no sign of slowing down, as he expresses his delight with the new track for the first ever Qatar Grand Prix, saying he could drive "all night long":

"It was very enjoyable. The Qatar track is unbelievable, Formula One cars now, at night, light cars with low fuel, new tyres – I could be driving all night long."

Alpine is currently locked in a fierce fight with AlphaTauri for P5 in the constructors’ championship, both tied on 112 points for the season, with Alpine ahead on countback - courtesy of Ocon’s shock Hungary win. Asked about the fight, Alonso was satisfied that he could qualify so close to the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly, who is usually better in qualifying, saying the result is “good news” for his team:

"They are very strong, we know that. Normally they qualify up there, and we recover on the race, on Sundays, but we also qualified well here, so that will be good news for us, if we can start close to them. They are fourth, we are fifth."

Looking ahead to the race strategy, Alonso will start on the C3, soft compound tyres. The Spaniard is wary of threats coming from medium tyre runners behind, but is also looking forward to starting on the clean side and the potential to have a better start than those around him:

"We’ll start on the clean side, so maybe at the start we have the first opportunity, and let’s see. I think in the race we also have to be careful with some medium [tyre] starters – Carlos [Sainz] behind us, [Sergio] Perez P11, he will come eventually in the race.

"It’s gonna be a long race for everybody. Happy with today, but points are given tomorrow, so let’s see."

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