It was a disappointing Saturday for the BWT Alpine F1 Team ahead of this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso qualified 11th on the grid for tomorrow’s debut race.
Esteban Ocon unfortunately missed qualifying due to a damaged chassis after a serious incident during free practice 3.
In qualifying, Fernando looked to maintain the strong pace he had set so far this weekend, including his fourth place finish in today’s FP3.
The Spaniard went through Q1 and had the pace to advance into Q3. He was unlucky not to qualify higher on the grid after a promising lap in Q2 was compromised by traffic. In the end he missed 0.032 seconds to progress to Q3, meaning he will start from 11th on the grid tomorrow.
During an early push lap in FP3, Esteban lost control of his A522 at Turn 17, colliding with the outer barrier. Damage to his car has cracked the chassis and another will be used for tomorrow’s 57-lap Grand Prix.
Esteban Ocon: “I can only apologize to the team for today because it’s never a good feeling when you crash. The whole team has worked so hard to get the car in a good place, so it’s disappointing not to see its true potential in qualifying. It was a big hit, so I was a little shocked, but thankfully it’s going well. We will have to explore what can be done to make the crash barriers safer as Carlos was also quite upset after an almost identical crash yesterday. As always, safety should come first. For now we will focus on getting the car back on the road and debriefing the day before we head out tomorrow, with nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
Fernando Alonso, P11, 1:30.160: “The car felt good today, so it’s disappointing to start the race in 11th place tomorrow. In Q2 I ran into traffic on my last lap with Carlos [Sainz] in Turn 11, and in Turn 16 I had lost about five tenths of a second, so my lap was ruined. We had put on a used set for the first run in Q2 and kept the new tires for this second attempt. However, this loss of time made it impossible to advance into Q3, which is again unfortunate for us. I think we could have been fifth or sixth today, but we are not. Let’s see tomorrow, because then the points will be available this weekend.”
Otmar Szafnauer, team principal: “It’s been a disappointing qualifying session today, especially because we have so much speed in the car, which we couldn’t really show. The result is not an accurate reflection of our actual performance as Fernando should really be in the top ten, at the very least, with his lap in Q2 absolutely compromised by traffic. I’m not sure what Carlos [Sainz] was doing, but Fernando was on a fast lap, going slow on the track and this cost Fernando time in the end. It was a shame that Esteban crashed during practice, especially in a place with a solid barrier. It was a hard blow and the chassis was beyond repair with not enough time between sessions to make the required chassis change. While we feel frustrated today, tomorrow is a new day and we will fight again.”