Fernando Alonso can look back on two great practice sessions. He finished 6th in FP2 and is looking up at the top.

After a rather inglorious race in Monaco two weeks ago, Fernando Alonso is making a comeback. On Thursday, the Alpine driver said it was “only a matter of time” before he can drive his car to the top again. Now he has taken 9th place in FP1 and 6th in FP2.

After the second practice he said that his car still “has potential”. This is a relief for the Alpine team, as the Monaco GP did not go to plan.

The two-time world champion was 1.5 seconds behind Max Verstappen in the first practice in Baku and ended up in P9.

In the second practice session, he was just 0.6 seconds behind Sergio Perez (Red Bull) at the top.

He explained afterwards that his improved pace was due to his efforts to build confidence on the tight street circuits, and now he can.

“Yes, it was a good Friday. Obviously on a street circuit, you need to build the confidence, you need to do a clean Friday FP1 and FP2 – as many laps as possible – so, I think we hit the target of the number of laps.”

“We completed the programme; I think there is some potential in the car to unlock tonight and go faster tomorrow, but so far I’m happy with how the weekend has started.”

He was also able to rely on the pace of the car and he was relieved about that because he was eliminated after Q1 in Monaco.

“We came here with some uncertainties after Monaco. We struggled there and it was another street circuit, so we had to check if we were in for a competitive weekend or not.”

“It seems we are OK. It seems that the car is working well, so we are reasonably happy with that. But as I said, you always want to find-tune the car and the balance and you think you can do quicker in the next day. I think it’s going to be the same for everybody, but we will try to do our job.”

He could record his first top-10 qualifying result since Spain in Baku and is therefore setting his sights a little higher.

“The aim is always to be in Q3 and try to be starting in the top 10. I think there is a chance to do that after today’s potential, so let’s try to make a good Saturday.”

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