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Alpine pair hope to capitalise on grid penalties for rivals but admit McLaren's pace is 'a little bit concerning' – Formula 1

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09 September 2022
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Alpine drivers Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso are optimistic that they can make the most of grid penalties for a host of rivals at the Italian Grand Prix, though they remain wary of McLaren’s potential as the battle for fourth in the constructors’ standings rumbles on.
Ocon and Alonso finished inside the top 10 positions in both FP1 and FP2 at Monza, with McLaren’s Lando Norris the only non-Ferrari, Red Bull or Mercedes driver to place ahead of them.
READ MORE: Sainz leads Verstappen and Leclerc in second Monza practice session
Carlos Sainz, Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez, Lewis Hamilton and several midfield runners will take grid penalties for Sunday’s race due to engine and gearbox component changes, presenting a clear opportunity for the likes of Alpine and McLaren to start at the sharp-end.
After lapping 0.024s faster than team mate Alonso in FP2, Ocon said: "It has been a strong day overall. Obviously the McLarens are quite quick, so that’s a little bit concerning, but the important [part] is tomorrow [in] qualifying.
"It is definitely an opportunity for everyone that’s not going to take a penalty, so we’ll see about that tomorrow."
Alonso echoed Ocon’s sentiments but stressed the need for Alpine to focus on themselves and not compromise their own performance by getting overly excited about the lengthy penalty list.
"It was a good Friday [with] a lot of laps and a lot of learning – a lot of data also with tyres which is probably the key point of the weekend," he explained.
READ MORE: Verstappen, Hamilton, Sainz and more receive engine and gearbox grid penalties at Monza
"I think there are still some fast cars out there, but it seems that there are a lot of penalties here again, like at Spa, and we can benefit from that.
"But first of all we need to perform and deliver in qualifying, so we need to focus on that."
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