Fernando Alonso believes that this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix will see “a few surprises”.

The season opener for Formula 1 this year commences this weekend and since pre-season testing, many questions arose regarding the pecking order and the teams’ performance. Speaking on this matter, returning two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso believes that while there is no way to predict the order until qualifying, there may be a few surprises waiting at Bahrain.

Alpine was one of the teams that had a fairly issue-free weekend at Bahrain pre-season testing. Completing 393 laps over the three days, the newly rebranded team finished at a high of third fastest, Esteban Ocon posting a lap that placed him four-tenths of a second off Max Verstappen’s day 1 benchmark. Alpine now feels it is well-prepared for the upcoming season, executive director Marcin Budkowski stating that they are “in better shape than previous seasons” in terms of preparation.

Along with this, Esteban Ocon emerged from the testing with satisfaction, impressed with the new Alpine A521.

“The A521 was great and I was left feeling happy with all the things we learned and discovered about it,” the French driver said. “And I’m a big fan of the colour scheme!”

Fernando Alonso, on his return to Formula 1, also found positive news to give following his 204 loops around the circuit in his 2021 challenger.

“We covered a lot of mileage during testing, which is important as it gives you something to build on for the rest of the season,” he stated. “We also completed most of our program during the three days in Bahrain, so we are relatively pleased on that front.”

However, while the French marque is poised for the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend and its drivers are happy with the car, accurately predicting the order for the opening race is close to impossible, as Alonso points out.

“In terms of performance it’s too early to tell, and I think we won’t know the true pecking order of the grid until the first qualifying session on Saturday where everyone has low fuel, the fastest tires fitted and full power from the engine,” the Spaniard explained.

“I expect there will be a few surprises.”

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