Alpine F1 Team will start tomorrow’s Turkish Grand Prix with Fernando Alonso fifth and Esteban Ocon twelfth on the grid after a hard-fought Qualifying at Istanbul Park.

Alpine F1 Team will start tomorrow’s Turkish Grand Prix with Fernando Alonso fifth and Esteban Ocon twelfth on the grid after a hard-fought Qualifying at Istanbul Park.

Fernando reached Q3 for the second time in as many races and qualified in sixth place with Esteban in twelfth after narrowly missing out on the top ten. Fernando moves up a spot on the grid to fifth as a result of Lewis Hamilton’s grid penalty, meaning his best starting position since the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. Esteban will occupy the sixth row of the grid for tomorrow’s 58-lap race with the seven-time world champion.

After a wet Free Practice 3 on the outskirts of Istanbul, conditions dried ahead of Qualifying at 15:00 local time. The threat of rain continued right up until the start of the session as all cars looked to set a lap-time as early in Q1 as possible. Both Esteban and Fernando were comfortable throughout and, on their second runs on Softs (C4), both drivers improved their lap-time to advance into Q2.

In the second segment of Qualifying, both drivers ran new Mediums (C3) along with all but three cars in the field. Fernando knocked on the door of the top three and progressed to Q3 on a 1min 23.914secs. Esteban was in a tight battle for the top ten and was forced to abort his second run on Mediums with traffic and fell short of reaching the top ten shootout.

Q1: Esteban P12, 1:25.422; Fernando P8, 1:25.174
Q2: Esteban P12, 1:24.842; Fernando P5, 1:23.914
Q3: Fernando P6, 1:23.477

Esteban Ocon, #31, A521-04, Q: P12, 1:24.842, FP3: P10, 1:32.089
“It’s disappointing not to be in the top ten today as we probably had the pace to be there. Unfortunately, I had to abort my Q2 lap due to traffic and I wasn’t able to complete the lap. It would have been close to reaching Q3, but it happens like that sometimes. We’re fighting some inconsistencies with the car at the moment, which we’re working hard to fix. We’ll keep working as a team to progress and get on top of it. Our focus is immediately on what we can do tomorrow, and the aim is to try and work our way back to the points.”

Fernando Alonso, #14, A521-06, Q: P6, 1:23.477, FP3: P6, 1:31.545
“It felt good today and I am happy with the result. The car felt fast, and I think we made the correct choice on which tyres to use in all of the sessions. We were also fast enough to qualify on the Medium tyres in Q2, which was a nice luxury to have! We seem competitive so I think we have a good chance to score points tomorrow. Let’s see if we can keep the pace with those around us. I think strategy will be key, as we saw tyre graining was quite high in dry conditions. We’ll be looking at the weather forecast and take it step by step.”

Davide Brivio, Racing Director: “It was a tricky session with the weather and the possibility of rain during Q1, so we wanted to get out early and complete a lap time for both cars. It never really rained heavily enough to have a big impact, but it was nevertheless very challenging conditions for the drivers and for the Team. Fernando did extremely well today and will start fifth tomorrow with Lewis’ [Hamilton] penalty, so that is a good result for us. Unfortunately, Esteban couldn’t improve on his final attempt in Q2 meaning he starts in twelfth place. He will have a free tyre choice tomorrow, so let’s see if it can be an opportunity and we’ll try to recover some places for him and target a top ten finish. The car has shown some good potential this weekend, so let’s see what we can do tomorrow when it all counts.”