Alpine F1 Team faced frustration in qualifying for tomorrow’s BWT Austrian Grand Prix with Fernando Alonso fourteenth and Esteban Ocon seventeenth on a challenging Saturday.
Fernando looked set to progress to Q3 for the fourth consecutive race but an unfortunate incident in Q2 meant the Spaniard was knocked out in fourteenth place. On his second push lap, Fernando was up on his best time but was blocked by Sebastian Vettel at Turn 10, the final corner, and had to abort his lap. Prior to that, Fernando comfortably progressed through Q1 on one set of tyres with his lap-time good enough for third place in the session.
Esteban will line-up in the identical grid slot to last weekend after not progressing out of Q1. His lap-time, a 1min 05.051secs, was narrowly short of the cut-off.
Q1: Esteban P17, 1:05.051; Fernando P3, 1:04.472
Q2: Fernando P14, 1:04.856
Esteban Ocon, #31, A521-05, Q: P17, 1:05.051, FP3: P13, 1:05.674
“Our pace hasn’t improved this weekend and, unfortunately, we’re back in the same spot. We tried some different things this week but we’re still lacking something. I felt like I had a good lap today, so, at the moment, there aren’t many answers, but we’ll keep thinking and keep finding solutions. I’ll focus on doing the best possible job and help the team move forward. I’ll race as hard as I can tomorrow to get some positions back and we will not give up.”
Fernando Alonso, #14, A521-06, Q: P14 1:04.856, FP3: P8, 1:05.434
“Today we lost an opportunity to be in a better position than last week on the starting grid, perhaps P5 or P6. It was an unfortunate situation with Seb [Vettel], which his team should have managed better. It’s not Seb’s fault and, as drivers, we’re relying on our engineers to communicate things that are happening on track. It’s disappointing as we had the potential today. The car felt really good and probably the best it’s felt all season and it’s frustrating not to have the opportunity to reach Q3 with two new sets of tyres. Starting fourteenth tomorrow means the race will be more challenging but we’ll still do our best to recover something.”
Davide Brivio, Racing Director: “It’s been a very disappointing qualifying today with both cars not in the starting position that we were targeting. Through no fault of our own, we weren’t able to see Fernando’s full potential with the incident with Vettel ending his chance of reaching Q3. It’s disappointing as he went through Q1 on one set of tyres and could have been into Q3 and in a much stronger position for the race. Esteban did all he could, and we’ll keep learning to better understand how we can improve his situation. We have free tyre choice with both cars for the race, and we’ll try and find the best strategy for tomorrow. We’ll push as much as we can to recover something and improve from this position.”