Alonso: Lack of trust in Alpine car costly at old-school Imola

Fernando Alonso feels he is not yet able to fully trust where the limit of Alpine’s Formula 1 car is after qualifying 15th for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

After finishing ninth in final practice on Saturday morning at Imola, Alonso struggled throughout qualifying, scraping through Q1 before propping up the timesheets in Q2.

In his second qualifying session since returning to F1 after a two-year absence, Alonso finished four-tenths off a Q3 berth, setting an identical lap time to Williams’ Nicholas Latifi.

Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon was able to reach Q3 and secure eighth place on the grid, marking the first time Alonso had been outqualified by an F1 teammate since the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix.

Alonso said after the session that he felt “disappointed” not to have made it through to Q3 as he did in Bahrain three weeks ago, but took responsibility for failing to do so.

“I was not fast,” Alonso said. “The car felt good, balance was good, and every time I finished the lap, I was quite happy with how it felt, but it definitely was too slow to be higher on the classification.

“It's going to be a tough race starting at the back. Imola is not well-known for overtaking opportunities, so you know that it is going to be a race to struggle a little bit at the back.”

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Alonso said Alpine made some “minimal” changes to the car between FP3 and qualifying, and that the bigger reason for his struggles was a lack of trust in the car as he continues to get back up to speed in F1.

“I don't think [the changes] made a huge impact on the performance, to be honest,” Alonso said.

“If I was feeling the car differently in qualifying than in FP3, maybe I could understand that we did something in the wrong direction or something, but the car felt good in qualifying and felt the same as FP3, so I guess it's more down to me.

“When you are talking about two- or three-tenths making [up] five or six places, it is difficult to be 100% sure, but I guess I need to get better.

“I need to understand better where is the limit of the car, maybe in difficult tracks. On demanding circuits like this one, you need to have a trust level in the car. These old-school tracks require some trust in the car and confidence to push at the limit while qualifying arrives.

“Maybe I'm not into that level yet. I will try to improve for the next one.”

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