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Alonso can’t afford to qualify poorly at Barcelona and Monaco

Fernando Alonso of Spain and Alpine F1 Team looks on during the F1 Grand Prix of Portugal at Autodromo Internacional Do Algarve on May 02, 2021 in Portimao, Portugal. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Fernando Alonso says he can’t afford to have more poor qualifying performances, stating he must improve his game at the next two difficult circuits coming up in the calendar.

Alonso is yet to have a strong qualifying outing, but still, the Spaniard managed to capitalize in the last two rounds to finish inside the points. However, the Alpine driver says it will be harder to recover at the next two circuits (Barcelona and Monaco), and says he needs to improve on qualifying because of that.

“The main focus obviously for us is Barcelona and Monaco, the next two, in my case, personally, even more because I need to get better and more comfortable with the car, especially in qualifying,” said Alonso.

“We had a good car here [in Portugal] and I didn’t perform on Saturday. If that happens in Barcelona or Monaco, my weekend is very highly compromised. So I cannot afford that and I will try to be more prepared next time.”

Alonso also commented on the team’s last year’s performance, where neither of the Renault drivers managed to achieve Q3 during the Spanish Grand Prix, something the Spaniard says needs to improve capitalizing on the problems faced previously.

“It was very difficult last year for the team,” he said. “So we will try to get better. We try to learn from whatever problems they faced last year.

“As I said, the next two tracks, the qualifying is quite important because [in] the race is a little bit harder to overtake than here in Portimao. So we will focus a lot on this and preparing the weekend the next three days.”

Alonso said his qualifying woes are not only a problem of getting the most out of the tire compound but of reacting to the condition changes on track.

“There is some homework to do for everybody,” he said. “For me, some extra I have to do to get better on Saturday.

“It’s not [just] extracting the maximum from the one-lap tire because in FP2, FP3, you put the softs and you do one lap — it’s not that you do more than that — and the timed lap performance was there.

“It’s more about the changeable conditions in quali: If it’s less grip, more grip, if it’s windier. Whatever changes on track, I need to be ready and understand it quickly in the out-lap already. I don’t have time to do more laps in Q1 or Q2.

“So there are things that I need to speed up and it’s very important to do it in Monaco and Barcelona.”

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