After two competitive races - Alonso came back on podium after seven years in Qatar, while Ocon almost made it to third in Jeddah - Alpine hopes to repeat its performances in Abu Dhabi. The Yas Marina circuit has been modified, as it is now faster without the chicanes.
Fernando Alonso had quite a straightforward day in Abu Dhabi, as he closed both sessions in sixth place. The Spaniard fastest lap was - unfortunately - deleted, but Alonso stays faithful. THe A521, which will dance for the last time this season, has now a nice written on the rear wing: "el plan", and Fernando is determined to follow it.
"It was a good Friday for us and I liked the track changes out there. It’s the third consecutive weekend that we discovered a new circuit on Friday, so it means we get to play around a little out on track and try different lines to find the lap time," said Alonso.
"We maximised our time on track today in both sessions and my fastest time was deleted in Free Practice 2, so there was a little bit more than what was shown on the final timings - he explained - while we still need to fine tune a few things on the setup, I think we can look back on a good day for us and we have more to come tomorrow".
Esteban Ocon has stolen the spotlight from title contender Max Verstappen in FP2: the Frenchman closed the session in second place, behind the other title contender Lewis Hamilton, while the Red Bull driver is only fourth.
“It’s been quite a productive Friday learning the new Abu Dhabi layout, which proved to be quite challenging in many aspects. I had a close call in FP1, similar to where Kimi went off in FP2, so you have to be careful pushing the limits there. Some of the new parts are quite tricky, so it’s important to keep getting dialled into these corners" said Esteban.
"Some of the areas on the track with new tarmac are interesting and learning the changes there will be important in understanding how the tyres behave. So far, we have both cars in the top ten, which is decent and that is the aim for tomorrow. It always looks cool to be in the higher positions and we ended in second place today, which has a nice sound to it. We’ll remain realistic, though, and keep up our hard work."