The BWT Alpine F1 Team qualified outside the top ten with both cars for tomorrow’s F1 Spanish Grand Prix with Esteban Ocon in twelfth and Fernando Alonso in seventeenth in a sweltering qualifying session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Saturday.
After yesterday’s strong performance in practice, both cars looked set to build on that form for Saturday. Fernando finished free practice 3 in thirteenth and Esteban in tenth.
Conditions remained hot in Barcelona – over 35C in air and nearly 50C on the track – with some cars showing signs of overheating during the day.
Unfortunately, Fernando was unable to progress from Q1 with the Spaniard – who entered the Spanish Grand Prix for the 19th time in Formula 1 – in 17th in a time of 1 minute 21.043 seconds. Esteban came through Q1 in sixteenth with 0.074 seconds.
In Q2, Esteban seemed to push through to the top ten, eventually falling two tenths short of twelfth place.
Esteban Ocon, P12, 1:20.638:
“Today was not an ideal day for us and certainly frustrating as we know there was more performance to be gained from the car. Our tires overheated a bit in qualifying as we kept the minimum speed on the lap, but it would be a tough challenge to get to Q3. There are a range of strategies possible for us tomorrow, so that makes it interesting for the race. We can play with almost all tire combinations and we know that strategy will be very important to make our day run smoothly. I will start the race in a better position than in Miami, so we will go there and see what we can do to get points. †
Fernando Alonso, P17, 1:21.043:
“It was a difficult qualifying session for me today and we had a bit of a misunderstanding on my last lap of Q1. I thought we had a margin of one or two seconds to cross the line, but in the end we had a margin of twenty seconds. It is a high price to pay here because as we know it is very difficult to overtake on this track. Let’s see tomorrow because in the last few races people who started at the back of the grid have had a well timed Safety Car and are in the top ten then. We have to hope for one of those tomorrow and maybe we’ll get some luck and get some points. Today the car was not as fast as yesterday and we have to understand why that was the case.”
Otmar Szafnauer, team principal: “We feel frustrated with the result of today’s qualifying as that was not where we hoped to be, and it does not reflect the true potential of our car after a promising Friday practice yesterday. Unfortunately, for conflicting reasons, neither of our cars are in the top ten. On Fernando’s side, there was simply a timing issue which meant he was misplaced in traffic on his out lap, ultimately jeopardizing his qualifying efforts. Esteban was able to get through Q1 and ran strong in Q2, sticking to the minimum out-lap speed on his runs where a significant number of his direct competitors did not. In the end he just fell short of the top ten and we’ll look at some of the factors that contributed to this deficit as we think we had the pace to be in Q3. Tomorrow is a new day. We were disappointed in Miami after the last qualifying and we enjoyed a strong race on Sunday, so it’s not over yet. We will do our best in terms of strategy and I am sure that both Fernando and Esteban will be determined to come back in tomorrow’s race.”