Fernando Alonso labelled Friday Formula 1 running at the Japanese Grand Prix as "strange" as he topped the first practice session at a wet Suzuka. With heavy rain falling throughout the day on F1's return to Japan, Alonso went fastest on the Intermediate tyres and followed up with seventh in FP2 on a strong day for Alpine. However, 2006 Suzuka winner Alonso feels that the conditions were "not representative" with dry weather predicted for Saturday with a mixed forecast for Sunday.
"I think [it was] not very representative [and] it has been a strange day," Alonso explained to media including RacingNews365.com. "Nevertheless we have to run a little bit in case on Sunday it is wet, but we expect dry conditions tomorrow but on Sunday anything can happen. "The car felt good, felt fast in the wet so we should be ready. "I think we if it's dry, we should be competitive as well. We like this this type of circuit this year with our package, and I love driving here, even in wet conditions. It was very fun day. "The grip in the high-speed corners in Suzuka is very high. "Hopefully tomorrow with a little bit of sun, people will enjoy it even more."
Ocon echoes Alonso thoughts
Alonso, who retired in Singapore last weekend with an engine failure, predicted that both Alpines would be in the top 10 in qualifying - after a busy FP3. "I think we should be fighting for Q3, and try to be with both cars in the top 10," he explained. "That's the aim for tomorrow, but we will have only FP3. "So it will be a lot of action there because we have to figure out a lot of things: Long runs, short runs, qualifying prep, so I think it's going to be a little more stressful [on] Saturday [morning] but I'm looking forward to it." Alonso's teammate Esteban Ocon echoed those thoughts after claiming fourth and ninth respectively in the sessions. "We want to be fighting for for Q3 and going to top 10, hopefully, well in the top 10," explained the Frenchman. "I think all in all it's been a good day, with more running than we expected. "This track is really nice to drive. Even in the rain, we had a good feel, so I can't wait to test it properly tomorrow when it's a bit dry."