Fernando Alonso believes he has finally recovered his F1 form of old after fighting his way into the points at the Portuguese Grand Prix.
Alonso spent the last two years out of the sport and has struggled to find his feet on his return as he retired in Bahrain and finished outside the top 10 in Imola before benefitting from a post-race penalty to Kimi Raikkonen to be promoted into the points.
After finishing eighth at Portimão, one place behind Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon, Alonso was asked by Sky Sports F1 if he felt like the ‘gladiator of old' to which he replied: “A little bit. I agree on that.
"I think Bahrain I was more careful on everything, just to complete the first GP. Imola I was so uncomfortable in the car with the conditions.
“So I think this is the first race that I was extracting the maximum from the car. I was upset after yesterday’s qualifying and today that anger was probably on track as well.
“It was good. It was fun. We were fighting with one McLaren, one Ferrari, things that were unthinkable in Imola and Bahrain. So I think we made a very big step forward in terms of car performance. I hope this is the real pace.”
Alonso, however, was still baffled by his lack of performance in qualifying at the Portimão track after setting a time almost a second slower than Ocon in Q2.
“It remains a little bit of a mystery what happened yesterday,” he said. “I could not feel the grip in the qualifying, I was not comfortable and that probably compromised my race a bit.
“I will try to get better next Saturday in qualifying. Barcelona and Monaco, Saturdays are very important because you cannot overtake so I still have some homework to do if I want to start a little bit forward.”
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