Alpine F1 Team will line-up with Esteban Ocon in ninth and Fernando Alonso fifteenth on the grid for tomorrow’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after a tightly contested qualifying session in Imola.
Both drivers started Q1 on the Soft tyres, but their initial laps were aborted following a red flag after the Alpha Tauri of Yuki Tsunoda clipped the wall at Turn 15.
Following a short delay, the session resumed and both cars made it safely through to Q2 with Esteban fifth and Fernando on the cusp in fifteenth, 0.142secs from the drop zone.
The start of Q2 saw both drivers start with used Soft tyres. Esteban and Fernando were narrowly short of the top 10 positions after their initial runs. On their second efforts – armed with new Soft tyres – Esteban improved to a 1min 15.117secs to make the final shoot-out in eighth, with Fernando out in fifteenth.
Esteban, in the sole remaining A521 for Q3, attempted two laps with an improvement on his second run good enough for ninth on tomorrow’s grid.
Q1: Esteban P5, 1:15.385; Fernando P15, 1:15.832
Q2: Esteban P8, 1:15.117; Fernando P15, 1:15.593
Q3: Esteban P9, 1:15.210
Esteban Ocon, #31, A521-05, Q: P9, 1:15.210, FP3: P10, 1:16.228
“It’s a great result for us today. We maximised the potential of the car and I think ninth was the maximum we could do. To be in Q3 is satisfying and I’m pretty pleased with that. It’s hard to overtake here, so it’s important to be starting already in the top 10. Our rivals are a little bit ahead and that means we still need to keep improving and finding those developments will be key this season. We’ll give it everything and fight tomorrow. The aim is to score points and we know it will be a long race where anything can happen.”
Fernando Alonso, #14, A521-06, Q: P15, 1:15.593, FP3: P9, 1:16.186
“I was not fast enough today and didn’t maximise the performance of the car. I’m disappointed in my result and let’s hope we can still get something tomorrow. It’s difficult to overtake here, but the points are given in the race so let’s see how we do. On the other hand, Esteban did well today and showed our updates that we brought here have worked well. In Bahrain, I had a good Saturday and a bad Sunday, so hopefully that is reversed tomorrow.”
Marcin Budkowski, Executive Director:
“We have mixed feelings as a team after today’s qualifying. We knew it would be tight after FP3 between a handful of cars and there was always going to be a fight to have both our cars in Q3. It was a really good session for Esteban, and he was solid throughout each round of qualifying. Ninth is probably where the car is at the moment. Fernando didn’t quite get it together as he’d have liked, and we’ll analyse that to see how we can improve. We’re looking forward to tomorrow’s race. There is a chance of rain, so we’ll be ready to grasp any opportunity.”
Renault Group and Castrol celebrate 100th Formula 1 race
• Castrol and Renault Group will celebrate 100 races together this weekend, with a new logo displayed on Alpine F1 Team’s cars
• bp and Castrol have provided advanced fuels and engine oils and industrial lubricants to the team’s technical centres in Enstone and Viry-Châtillon since 2017
• Castrol is Renault Group’s chosen partner for aftersales global service fill since 2020, with a range of jointly branded products available through the global Renault dealership network
• A second logo will be unveiled at the race to show that ‘Renault recommends Castrol’
Esteban and Fernando score first points of the season after eventful Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
Alpine F1 Team scored its first championship points of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship after a challenging race, which led to Esteban Ocon finishing ninth and Fernando Alonso tenth in an incident-filled Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.