Fernando Alonso ‘came alive’, Esteban Ocon ‘went back’ to France – .

Fernando Alonso ‘came alive’, Esteban Ocon ‘went back’ to France – .

It was a day of contrasting fortunes at Alpine, as Fernando Alonso said his car “woke up” after his pit stop, while teammate Esteban Ocon struggled in his home race.

The two Alpine cars looked relatively competitive as they qualified as P9 and P11 respectively, but while Alonso was able to progress in the race, Ocon said his tires were deteriorating quickly and “retreating”.

Alonso added that his confidence grows all the time after his comeback and, while he admitted that the high tire degradation was a shock to every driver, he managed to win an honorable P8 in the home race of the team.

“It was tricky,” Alonso told reporters after the race. “The start was very good, I recovered three or four places in the first corners, but then the grain was more important than what we thought, what we had expected.

“We stopped a bit too early and had a slower pace, but with the hard tires we came to life. We managed to keep a good pace and 8th place is good.

“We started ninth, we finished eighth, so we executed our race but it was interesting – the big degradation was a surprise for everyone. “

After a fresh start, Alonso added that his escapades had been one of his best qualities in his racing career and that he had no plans to give up ground in the first lap anytime soon.

“It’s been my strong point for 20 years, so why not now ?! Alonso said separately after the race.

“The starts are that part of the race where you have to improvise a bit, you have to be creative, there is no tire performance, there is no car performance, it’s just you and your instinct, so I enjoy these kinds of tricks.

“The first lap has always been a strong point and now I’m more comfortable with the car, with the starting procedures, with the tires too.

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Unfortunately for his Alpine Ocon teammate, he was not as dynamic after the French Grand Prix. Having run closely behind Alonso in the first stint, he couldn’t get his hard tires to work in the same way and eventually won 14th place.

“It wasn’t a good race for us – not a positive weekend overall,” said Ocon. “I think we were clearly missing something with the car today.

“The pace was not good on both tires, we deteriorated quite quickly and fell back in the race.

“Not where we wanted [to finish] but that we have the chance to race again next week, that’s good. Can’t wait to turn this negative weekend into a good one for the next one.

“We must understand what [the car’s issue] That’s exactly because it clearly hampered my run today.

“We got off to a good start and from there it just didn’t work out. “

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