Estaban Ocon admitted that he was happy with his Alpine A521’s balance throughout the practice sessions on Friday, calling it a “pure pleasure to drive” at the Zandvoort circuit.

Ocon finished P6 in FP1 and improved in FP2, finishing P3 in what has proven to be a solid day for Alpine as both cars stayed within the top 10 despite red flags reducing the laps completed.

“We keep tweaking once we arrived on the real track, but we definitely picked up things on the simulator that would have taken us some time to figure out here. So it’s a good job that we worked so hard in the sim and that the guys in the factory managed to put the sim so close to reality,” Ocon explained.

“The car felt very strong out there. It’s probably the closest to a perfect balance that we’ve had so far this year. I think the track, just how it is… with it being very high grip [probably helps] with our balance. It’s been a pleasure to drive, it’s good fun and we hope that it will be the same tomorrow.”

Teammate Fernando Alonso was more cautious in his approach, stating that there is still time to put in laps from rival teams, thus waiting until Saturday before getting a clearer picture.

“We’ve been quick on Fridays and then not so much on Saturdays and Sundays. So we still need to wait for tomorrow, but so far it seems competitive, the car,” Alonso admitted.

“It was difficult because you get traffic every two or three laps, the tires get cold so you reset things.

“The sessions were not trouble-free for anyone, and we saw a lot of red flags and so on, so I think still a lot of lap time to come for everybody and same for us.”

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