According to Fernando Alonso, Alpine is unsure as to why it managed to have its most successful drive yet this season.
The two-time world champion managed to finish eighth just behind his teammate Esteban Ocon. For both the drivers, this was their best result in the season so far.
Alonso admits that the team “don’t know yet” why they were so fast on race-day compared to their first session on Friday.
“Generally it was a good weekend, not only the race,” he said. “I felt the car [was] much more competitive here than Imola and Bahrain.
“We were fighting with one McLaren, with one Ferrari, AlphaTauri. So, definitely we were in a group that we were not able to be in Imola or Bahrain. That was a positive thing.
“We felt competitive already from FP1, we were fifth in FP2, we could have been third in FP3.
“It remains a little bit a mystery what happened in qualifying where I felt not comfortable, I felt not the same grip as any other session, unfortunately. And that compromised a little bit my race.
“But overall, I’m very happy with the weekend in general and the step forward by the performance of the car. I think it was a good Sunday for us as Alpine being competitive more than any other race so far this year.”
Alonso went on to say that the variable conditions and track layouts make it difficult to form an estimate of how fast everyone really is.
“We’re still discovering things on the car every weekend. We went into a very different circuit characteristics so far this year. Very different conditions as well from the heat of Bahrain and the slow speed corners with a combination of long straights to the damp Imola and now the windy Portimao.
“So I think we have to keep learning from the car and from our opponents as well, where they are a strong, where they are weak. And that will take more time, I think, for everybody.”
Alonso admitted that he had a great time as he worked his way forward from the 13th place.
“In the first two races we were battling more towards the end of the midfield group, we had some battles with the Williams, with Alfa Romeo and the Ferrari, the McLaren and AlphaTauri.
“They were unreachable in Bahrain and here they were slower than us basically on the weekend. So that was good.
“Three races into the season, one retirement in Bahrain unfortunately, and two times in the points, so I cannot ask anything more. I’ve been learning and adapting to the team as quick as I can and still more to come.
“From three races, two times into points and one retirement, I think it’s a good start. But we need to get better.”
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