Fernando Alonso has revealed he used the Emilia Romagna GP as a test day on his way to 10th place in Imola. The Alpine driver learned a lot in the mixed conditions but is not surprised to be struggling in the car.
The Spaniard was outqualified by a teammate for the first time since Malaysia 2017 on Saturday when Esteban Ocon outclassed the double F1 world champion. However, Alonso used his experience to finish just one place behind the Frenchman on race day.
“I’m happy with the learnings. It was the very first time in wet conditions, first time in intermediate conditions, first time in dry conditions only with one narrow dry line," Alonso told RacingNews365.com and other select members of the press.
“[There are] a lot of lessons to take from today, to analyse. Feeling wise, from lap one to lap 63, I felt 300 percent better in how confident I am with the car. But this cannot be an excuse to say [why] we didn’t perform well, why I didn’t perform well. It doesn’t matter if you have little or no time in the car.”
Alonso is making his return to Formula 1 after two years away from the sport. His comeback has been especially difficult due to limited pre-season testing with each driver receiving up to 12 hours of testing time in the car.
There were no signs of rustiness in Bahrain for Alonso and he thinks his troubles in Imola were down to confidence.
“I’m not surprised, I was expecting exactly what we’re finding now,” added Alonso. “I was right behind Esteban today, I was in front of him when I retired the car in Bahrain, with a guy that was performing very well and [has] two years in the team.
“It was my second qualifying here, it was my first race here because in Bahrain I only did 30 laps and I’m more or less where I expected to be. You always want to be more, and higher up, and you want to be a little more confident in the car and probably I was not confident in Bahrain or confident here.
“I will not be confident in Portimao, this is not a thing that goes from day to night and then you’re 100 percent, it will take time, but I’m here to work and get better and a race like today helps massively because you can feel the car in very difficult conditions and you can learn a lot more than just a normal race.
“I’ve changed teams many times, I even changed category in motorsport many times and there is always that period of adaptation."