Fernando Alonso looks to do well at his 300th Formula 1 race this weekend at Montreal. The Spaniard is braced for an uphill weekend but he is confident McLaren will get through it by maximising their potential.
The two-time champion ended FP1 in 6th, whereas he clocked the 10th fastest lap in FP2 over 1.5s off Max Verstappen. However, Alonso feels the work the team put in was solid and aims to get a better understanding of the HyperSoft tyres tomorrow morning.
"It was a positive day. -he declared- We have felt comfortable since the beginning of the first session, with a decent pace, which allowed us to make the most of it. We did not run the HyperSoft tyres during the second session, as we saved them to practice more tomorrow in FP3. We will see where we are, but so far so good."
"It’s difficult because, taking our latest experience in Monaco as a reference, we are here 15 days later trying to gain a tenth or so on a very difficult track, but the data confirmed our improvement and matched our expectations."
The Spaniard moves on to the strategy issue. Given that the HyperSoft tyre tends to grain quickly and was not designed to be a race tyre, most drivers are likely to go on two stops. However, Alonso thinks the two-stop option could be compulsory for the frontrunners only, or at least for the top 10 qualifiers.
"Our run on the HyperSoft went well, the only problem is the graining, which we all previously experienced in Monaco on this soft compound. On the UltraSofts we didn’t have any problems, let alone on the SS, which is the hardest here. We just need to put more emphasis on the HyperSoft, which will be used in qualifying, whereas we still have to figure which tyre can work best for the race."
"A one-stop strategy could be an option, but it really depends on where you end up at the end of qualifying. From the 11th downwards it may be convenient in order to avoid the HyperSofts, whereas if you advance to Q3 two stops will be obvious. We will have a very compelling and interesting race on Sunday, whatever happens."