RACE DEBRIEF

    As Fridays go, Fernando Alonso had an eventful one in Austin as he stopped out on track on his first lap of the day and suffered a spin in second practice in a sign of Alpine’s early struggles.

    Alonso was on his out lap in the opening practice session when he stopped at Turn 12, bringing out the red flags while the car was cleared. Alpine managed to repair a water system issue for him to return to the track later in FP1 but as Alonso struggled with the balance of his car he ended up with a big spin at the penultimate corner in the second session, hitting the barrier with his rear wing.

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    “It was not easy today, not a super smooth Friday for us,” Alonso said. “An issue in FP1 and then a spin in FP2, so some work to do tonight. I think the performance is not unlocked yet on our car and then we’re struggling with the balance, so let’s see. A lot of work to do.

    “I think [the issue] was something on the water system so we had to stop because the engine was running without water at that point. They did a good job to fix it and I still did some laps in FP1, but as I said we were not happy with the balance with any of the tyres, so still some work.”

    A hot day in Texas greeted all of the teams but Alonso doesn’t think it was a particular reason for the difficulties he faced on Friday.

    “I don’t think that is a huge issue. The tyres struggle a little bit more, yes, but it’s the same for everybody. I don’t think it’s going to be a big thing.”

    Fernando Alonso admits 'work to do' after Friday in Austin

    Alonso ended up 15th in the first session and 13th in FP2, while team mate Esteban Ocon was just outside the top 10 on both occasions on his first visit to Circuit of the Americas in three years.

    “It’s a very different weekend or start to the weekend compared to 2018,” Ocon said. “I had to rediscover the track pretty much. It’s a very different challenge, there are a lot more bumps, it was a lot more slippery – the track grip was a lot less – so it was not easy out there today.

    READ MORE: Verstappen explains traffic frustrations – and why he called Hamilton 'an idiot' – in FP2 at COTA

    “We improved the car quite a lot from FP1 to FP2, we still want to improve it more. It’s not perfect yet, it’s not exactly where we want it to be, but I think we can push it a further step tomorrow.

    “The aim is to be in the points, that’s clearly the thing that we want to achieve. Of course at the moment we don’t look so competitive but it’s still early days and we can still work hard to get where we want tomorrow.”

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    Alonso's day didn't get off to the best of starts, when a mechanical issue curtailed his running in FP1