Alpine F1 Team will line up with Fernando Alonso ninth and Esteban Ocon twelfth on the grid for tomorrow’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, after a messy qualifying session littered with red flags around the Baku City Circuit.

Alpine F1 Team will line up with Fernando Alonso ninth and Esteban Ocon twelfth on the grid for tomorrow’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, after a messy qualifying session littered with red flags around the Baku City Circuit.

Q1 began amidst some of the hottest temperatures of the season, but the session came to a halt early on after a red flag caused by Lance Stroll. Both Esteban and Fernando headed back out after the session restart and completed their laps to go fifth and seventh. Moments later another red flag was waved, this time for Antonio Giovinazzi, delaying the session for a second time. With a good time in hand Esteban opted to remain in the garage but Fernando went again on used Soft tyres. The Spaniard didn’t complete his lap, however made it through to Q2 in fifteenth. Esteban was ninth following his one timed lap.

Eager to avoid being caught in another red flag scenario, Fernando and Esteban headed out immediately at the start of Q2. Fernando put in a 1min 42.195secs on Soft tyres, edging himself into ninth position and Esteban just outside the top ten on a 1min 42.273secs.

Both drivers embarked on their final laps of Q2, but a third red flag ended the session early. Fernando, who was placed in the top ten in tenth place, progressed onto Q3, however Esteban narrowly missed out in twelfth, less than a tenth down on his teammate.

In his first appearance in Q3 since the Bahrain Grand Prix Fernando headed out on scrubbed Soft tyres having used several compounds in the early parts of qualifying. His timed lap placed him ninth on a 1min 42.327secs.

With the clock ticking and armed with fresh Soft tyres, Fernando embarked on his final push lap of the day, however Yuki Tsunoda and Carlos Sainz both hit the wall to bring out a fourth red flag and an immediate end to qualifying, leaving the Spaniard ninth for tomorrow’s race.

Q1: Esteban P9, 1:42.426 Fernando P15, 1:42.934
Q2: Esteban P12, 1:42.273 Fernando P10, 1:42.195
Q3: Fernando P9, 1:42.327

Esteban Ocon, #31, A521-05, Q: P12, 1:42.273, FP3: P9, 1:43.294
“It wasn’t our session clearly. Q1 went well but into Q2 there were a lot of incidents. I got impeded into Turn 3 on my first run and hit the wall because of that, then on the second run the red flag came out so I couldn’t go again. It’s a bit frustrating as the car looked as though it was capable of getting well into the top ten so we will look to convert that tomorrow. Plenty is possible with our pace; I am definitely looking forward to the race, which is always a crazy one.”

Fernando Alonso, #14, A521-06, Q: P9, 1:42.327, FP3: P7, 1:43.080
“It was a bit of a messy session today and it was difficult to get into any kind of rhythm during qualifying. Unfortunately, we were unable to exploit the full potential of the car as every time we fitted fresh tyres a red flag came out. But it’s the same for everybody, so we have to take the positives away from today. It’s my first time in Q3 here so that’s good and we can see what is possible tomorrow. ”

Davide Brivio, Racing Director:
“It was a very tricky session with so many red flags, it was difficult to get into a rhythm and I think we didn’t use our potential. Fernando was comfortable in the car and we can be happy to get into Q3, but we could have done better with the last laps to extract the final lap time we knew was there. Esteban improved this morning but we were so unlucky with the red flag roulette; we just paid the price with him. This track is quite unpredictable so we will do our best for tomorrow. We know the pace is there so we need to stay focussed on our race.”

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