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Alonso wanted to drive “fantastic” Alpine all night

Alonso wanted to drive “fantastic” Alpine all night

F1 News

Alonso wanted to drive “fantastic” Alpine all night

Alonso wanted to drive “fantastic” Alpine all night

Fernando Alonso claimed he could spend "all night driving" after qualifying his "fantastic" Alpine fifth in Qatar.

Alonso, whose team is tied with AlphaTauri for fifth in the constructors’ championship, scored his best qualifying result since rejoining the F1 paddock at the start of the season.

The Spaniard will start behind title-chasers Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen as well as Valtteri Bottas and AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly.

“It was fantastic. I think the car performed really well all weekend, not only in quail," said a jubilant Alonso.

“It was really enjoyable to drive and I told the team, if you give me fuel I could be all night driving here and wait for you tomorrow! There are certain circuits that seem to be better for our package, and this is one of those.

“The high-speed combination, the long corners, you have everything here and being at night as well, I know it should be no big difference but the track is quite cool and that helps the tyres.”

Alonso expecting tough battle

Alonso, who will start on soft tyres, is targeting a move on Gasly at the start but remains conscious of those behind him, particularly with several of the usual front runners struggling in qualifying but starting the race on mediums.

Alonso added: “For us the main target is AlphaTauri. Gasly starts fourth, we start fifth on the clean side so maybe there’s an opportunity there at the start if we can manage. After that we need to be careful.

“I think there are some medium starters behind us, Carlos [Sainz], [Sergio] Perez, so they will come eventually into the race and we will have to defend so let’s see if we can keep this top five position tomorrow.”

His team-mate, Esteban Ocon, starts four spots behind in ninth place after struggling all weekend and being hampered by a rattling car during the session, but he feels there will be “plenty of opportunities” to recover lost ground.

“The car was pulling right and shaking quite a lot when I was braking,” he said. “[It] got less and less through the session but it was tricky to manage in the beginning.

“I think there are plenty of things we need to review. Since the beginning of the weekend we are not very competitive on our side. There was probably more there. We are still in the fight and that is very, very good.”

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