BWT Alpine F1 Team qualified for Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix with Fernando Alonso fifth and Esteban Ocon eighteenth after a challenging wet to dry Qualifying under the lights at Marina Bay.
Fernando’s sensational effort in Q3 had him knocking on the door of a front row spot with his lap-time – a 1min 49.966secs – enough for fifth place. Fernando twice shot to first place in the session as he mastered the drying conditions in the final segment of a thrilling Qualifying.
After a heavy downpour earlier in the day, which cut Free Practice 3 short by 30minutes, the track remained damp throughout the evening with no signs of drying quickly.
Esteban was unfortunate to exit in Q1 in eighteenth after running throughout the session on Intermediate tyres.
Fernando progressed through in ninth place before advancing into the final shootout in fifth place again on Intermediate tyres.
For Q3, the majority of the field committed to running on Softs for the first time of the day with the track eventually evolving to dry conditions. Fernando improved lap by lap, jumping from a 1min 52.520secs to a 1min 49.966secs to qualify in fifth place.
“It was a difficult Qualifying on my side of the garage today and I’m disappointed to be out in Q1, especially as we have had strong pace all weekend. I sensed an issue with the brakes, which hampered our session today. The positive is the car is strong and the aim now is to use that pace to make our way into the points positions tomorrow. Overtaking is tough here but as always we’ll be pushing hard to secure a good team result.”
“To qualify in the top five was a great result today and I feel like we maximised the tricky conditions. The track was changing all the time and so you had to guess what the grip was going to be going into the next corner. I had confidence in the car, which is needed at a street circuit like this and that helped me understand the conditions and know when we needed to switch to dry tyres. I hope for a straightforward race tomorrow, but let’s see what will happen with the weather. We are only two places away from the podium positions, so if we stay focused and have a clean start then we’ll be in a strong position.”
Alan Permane, Sporting Director
“We have mixed feelings after today’s Qualifying with Fernando in fifth and Esteban in eighteenth. Fernando executed a textbook session, and he did a fantastic job in every area to build up to a solid result. I think even more was possible but he gave it his all and he’s put himself in a great position for tomorrow’s race. Esteban reported a brake problem on his final push lap as the track was beginning to dry, so we’ll investigate what happened there. It’s always a challenge when a Qualifying session goes from a damp to a dry track, so credit to the entire team today for a very well managed session. Tomorrow we’ll be aiming for good points from Fernando and, while we know it will be hard for Esteban as overtaking is difficult here, we’ll do everything we can to put him in to points contention.”