Esteban Ocon of the BWT Alpine F1 Team qualified in eighth place for the Australian Grand Prix. His teammate Fernando Alonso will start tenth in Melbourne on the Albert Park Circuit. The Spaniard crashed in the latter part of qualifying due to a technical problem that caused his A522 to come to a halt midway through the corner.
The Spaniard was fast in all three qualifying sessions and seemed destined for a front row of the grid. Nevertheless, the result continues Alpine’s good qualifying form this season, which has led to a Q3 appearance in all three rounds of the championship so far.
In Q1, both Alpine drivers advanced to the next session after several delays for different incidents. For Q2, the team’s pace was again strong with Alonso progressing comfortably in fifth, with ocon in tenth.
For the top ten shootout, the two-time world champion was quick in sector one on his first push lap, then fastest of them all in the middle sector, for the matter, which ended his qualifying. The only Alpine left, Esteban OCon took two tries and brought his car home in eighth position, with his fastest lap of the day, a 1 minute 19.061 seconds.
Esteban Ocon, P8,: “It’s a bittersweet result for us today. Having both cars in Q3 is a decent result, but it’s a shame Fernando couldn’t complete his lap because he was doing a mega lap. I know the team is investigating exactly what happened, but he showed great pace all weekend. It wasn’t the smoothest of days for me, but I have to be happy with the eighth in the end. We’re in the fight for tomorrow, and that’s what matters. There’s certainly plenty of work to do and I know there’s pace to be found, so we’re leaving no stone unturned to try and put everything together to maximize our race tomorrow. †
Fernando Alonso, P10: “Looks like we’ve had a lot of bad luck so far in these three races and to have this problem in qualifying today is a real shame. We had the pace for the top three or maybe even the front row today and on my Q3 lap I was feeling really fast. I’m not surprised I’m so close to the leaders because we worked hard as a team. Every weekend we’ve gotten better and better, so that’s positive. It’s been the best weekend for me personally in years and it’s frustrating that we couldn’t live up to it today. Let’s see how the car is at night and do our research. Hopefully we can score points tomorrow.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal: “Today’s qualifying result is a missed opportunity for us as the potential was there for a very strong team result. It is positive that we have both cars for the second race in a row in Q3. That said, the potential was really there to have both of our cars in the top five today, that’s how strong our pack was on this track. It turns out we start eighth and tenth and we know we can still run a strong race from there. Our race pace looked positive on Friday, so we will definitely aim to turn this starting position into strengths. Fernando was definitely fast today. We will investigate the problem that caused his incident. It’s just a shame today because we were good enough to start much higher on the grid.”