Fernando Alonso says Alpine’s pace around the Circuit Paul Ricard last weekend was a “relief” for the team after it struggled at the previous street-based events.
On Saturday, Alonso advanced into Q3, ending the session in ninth, before converting his position to eighth place on race day.
Despite struggling in the opening phase of the grand prix in France, Alonso was always in contention for a points finish, leaving the team content after it endured issues in Monaco and Baku.
“I’m happy and I’m happier every race,” Alonso said. “I think already in Portugal and Barcelona we did a step forward in terms of competitiveness and happiness with the car.
“After Barcelona unfortunately Monaco and Baku, the two street circuits, came and put some doubts in everybody because we were uncompetitive and were struggling to warm up the tyres.
“We were not lost but we had some other problems than the car or adaptation, it was just putting heat in the tyres.
“Now coming back to a conventional circuit it was a relief in a way to see that we are performing well and we are fighting in the top 10 regularly.
“So this was good news and I think for the rest of the championship we will be up and down a little bit – it depends on the circuit characteristics – but I’m happy we can extract the maximum from the car.”
Alpine currently sits seventh in the Constructors’ Championship and appears to be in a fight with AlphaTauri and Aston Martin for fifth.
However, while admitting it would be “challenging”, Alonso has not ruled out potentially catching Ferrari, who has struggled at a handful of races this year, including France.
“I think McLaren and Ferrari are stronger from the first race so I don’t think we are in that position [to challenge] unfortunately, but you never know,” Alonso said.
“You saw in Portugal we were faster than Ferrari on race pace, today as well, so there are some circuits that give you some hope, but I think it’s going to be challenging.
“At the moment we are behind Aston Martin and AlphaTauri and they are very strong as well, so it’s going to be interesting in the Constructors’ Championship.
“We will try to score points every weekend and try to be consistent. We’ve been a little bit too much up and down, especially as I said with Baku and Monaco we felt uncompetitive there and we don’t want to feel uncompetitive anywhere, we want to feel as consistent as possible.”