RACE DEBRIEF

    Alpine enjoyed a top-five showing in second practice for the Styrian Grand Prix with Fernando Alonso fifth and Esteban Ocon third, and their two-time champion said his team are on the way to achieving a mighty points haul in Austria.

    Having expected a downpour at the Red Bull Ring, Alonso was in a far sunnier mood on Friday having logged a lap good enough for P6 in FP1 before improving in the second session, and he said he was very pleased with the A521’s pace after the day’s brace of practice sessions.

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    “Yes, it was a good Friday for us and yes, we were expecting rain. It didn’t happen, so we were able to test our normal programme. Happy with the tyres, happy with the car balance – we’re still to fine tune some corners to optimise the lap time – but it was a positive Friday and [I'm] confident for tomorrow.

    “Maybe… on Friday we look a bit more competitive than what we look on Saturday and Sunday, but the aim is to be in Q3 with both cars and in the points on Sunday with both cars. It seems achievable here, so let’s try to do it,” he added.

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    Alonso and Ocon enjoyed a kick-about in Austria ahead of practice for the Styrian GP as they hope to score big this weekend

    As for Ocon, who was a solid seventh in FP1 and a stellar third in the following session – 0.008s faster than Lewis Hamilton – he was a little more reserved over Alpine’s chances this weekend.

    “It was pretty decent but it’s only Friday, so we need to stay focused and address a few things that we still have to work on. I will be very happy if that’s where we are tomorrow, but we have to stay realistic and fight our way through still, so let’s see tomorrow,” said the Frenchman.

    READ MORE: ‘Lewis was faster’ – Verstappen predicting tough battle despite topping both Friday sessions

    “So definitely, it’s been a good day, but there’s plenty to look at, which is positive, because if you are stuck in a corner that’s never great news,” he added.

    The squad are 11 points behind Aston Martin and seventh in the Championship as they seek a first double-points haul since May’s Portuguese Grand Prix.