BWT Alpine F1 Team qualified with both cars outside the top ten for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix with Esteban Ocon twelfth and Fernando Alonso seventeenth on Saturday in a scorching hot Qualifying at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
After yesterday’s strong showing in Practice, both cars looked to build on that form for Saturday. Fernando ended Free Practice 3 in thirteenth and Esteban in tenth.
Conditions remained hot in Barcelona – over 35C air and close to 50C on track – with some cars showing signs of overheating throughout the day.
Unfortunately, Fernando was unable to progress from Q1 with the Spaniard – competing in the Spanish Grand Prix for the 19th time in Formula 1 – out in seventeenth on a 1min 21.043secs. Esteban squeezed through Q1 by 0.074secs in sixteenth.
In Q2, Esteban looked to push towards the top ten and, in the end, fell two tenths short in twelfth place.
“It’s not been an ideal day for us today and definitely frustrating as we know there was more performance to unlock from the car. Our tyres were overheating a little bit throughout qualifying as we maintained the minimum out-lap speed, but it was going to be a tough challenge to reach Q3. A range of strategies are possible for us tomorrow so that makes things interesting for the race. We can pretty much play with all tyre combinations and we know strategy will be very important for our day to go well. I’ll start the race in a better position than I did in Miami so we’re going to go out there and see what we can do to come out with points.”
“It was a difficult qualifying session for me today and we had a bit of a misunderstanding on my final lap of Q1. I thought we had a one or two second margin to get across the line, but we actually had a twenty second margin in the end. It’s a high price to pay here because as we know it’s very difficult to overtake on this track. Let’s see tomorrow because in the last few races people who have started towards the back of the grid have had a well-timed Safety Car and then are inside the top ten. We need to hope for one of those tomorrow and maybe we get some luck and take some points. Today the car was not as fast as yesterday and we need to understand why that was the case.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal
“We feel frustrated by today’s Qualifying outcome 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, we have neither car inside the top ten for contrasting reasons. On Fernando’s side, quite simply, there was a problem with timings, which meant he was misplaced in traffic on his out lap and that ultimately compromised his qualifying effort. Esteban was able to progress through Q1 and ran strongly in Q2, adhering to the minimum out-lap speed on his runs where a significant number of his direct competitors did not. In the end, he fell just short of reaching the top ten and we will look into some of the factors that contributed to this deficit, as we feel we had the pace to be in Q3. Tomorrow is a new day. We were left feeling disappointed in Miami after Qualifying last time out and we enjoyed a strong race on Sunday, so all is not over yet. We’ll do our best on strategy and I’m sure both Fernando and Esteban will be determined to bounce back in tomorrow’s race.”