Alpine F1 Team will line-up for tomorrow’s season-opening Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix with Fernando Alonso ninth and Esteban Ocon sixteenth on the grid after a bittersweet qualifying under the lights at the Bahrain International Circuit.
On his return to Formula 1, Fernando was in inspired form to advance to Q3 and put his car in ninth on the grid for tomorrow’s 57-lap race.
It was a case of misfortune on the other side of the garage as Esteban was eliminated in Q1 with a yellow flag on his second push lap ending his hopes of progressing to Q2, as he missed out by just 0.070secs.
Both drivers attempted two runs on Soft tyres in Q1: Fernando through comfortably in seventh place. In Q2, the Spaniard advanced to Q3 for the first time since the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix with a 0.045secs margin to the cut-off.
He elected to do one run on new Soft tyres in Q3, which was good enough for ninth place, 0.034secs adrift of eighth.
Q1: Esteban P16, 1:31.724; Fernando P7, 1:30.863
Q2: Fernando P9, 1:30.595
Q3: Fernando P9, 1:30.249
Esteban Ocon, #31, A521-05, Q: P16, 1:31.724, FP3: P8, 1:32.423
“It was a very disappointing qualifying on our side of the garage. Unfortunately, the yellow flag meant I had to lift off through sector two and I lost quite a lot of lap-time as a result. It’s unfortunate as there was pace for a lot more today. I think as a team we’ve worked well all weekend during the practice sessions and had a good set-up on the car for qualifying, so it’s disappointing not to show our potential. Tomorrow, we still target points. Anything can happen and we’ll push hard to make up some places and comeback. The weekend is not over.”
Fernando Alonso, #14, A521-06, Q: P9, 1:30.249, FP3: P15, 1:32.820
“We have to be pleased with our qualifying session today. I wasn’t totally confident with the car balance in any of the practice sessions this weekend. In qualifying, though, the temperature was a lot cooler and I was able to attack and feel the car a little bit better. It was really exciting to drive these cars again with low fuel and peak performance from the tyres. Qualifying is always amazing to experience in Formula 1 and I have missed that feeling! The plan for tomorrow is to attack and score points. We’ll try to make up some positions from our starting spot but we have to be wary of the cars around us as some of our competitors are starting on the Medium tyres so it will be a close race.”
Davide Brivio, Racing Director: “We have mixed emotions after today’s qualifying with Fernando in ninth and Esteban in sixteenth. On a positive side, it was nice to see Fernando going into Q3 and that’s a good start to the season for him. However, it was bad luck for Esteban to not make it further than Q1 with a yellow flag hindering his second run. The potential was there for a solid team result. Tomorrow is race day and we’ll try to push even more. We’ve made gains in each session so far this weekend, so let’s see what happens when the lights go out.”
Source: Media Groupe Renault