Fernando Alonso to start the Italian Grand Prix from tenth place on the grid, after strong performance in sprint qualifying, team-mate Esteban Ocon to start in twelfth.
After a disappointing Friday at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza for the Alpine F1 Team, it was a much better Saturday. Alonso drove a strong sprint to finish in eleventh place after starting in thirteenth. The Spaniard made two places early on after overtaking Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly crashing out ahead.
Alonso was closing in on Lance stroll towards the end of the sprint, however there wasn’t enough laps for the veteran to do anything about the Canadian. The Spaniard will start Sunday’s race from tenth instead of eleventh, as sprint winner Valtteri Bottas will start from the back of the grid after taking an engine penalty.
Alonso enjoyed the sprint and is expecting the point positions on Sunday to be decided by small margins.
“We took two positions today and it means we start a little higher tomorrow so I am happy with that. I would have liked to have gained more, but it was difficult to follow closely here. If I was at home watching as a fan, then I would probably have enjoyed it because you get two days of racing. It’s going to be a race decided by small margins tomorrow, so we have to make sure our pit-stops and strategy are good.”
“We could have probably gained more places” – Esteban Ocon
It was a mediocre sprint race for Esteban Ocon, the Frenchman who started the sprint fourteenth, finished the short race in thirteenth, only inheriting a single place due to Gasly’s retirement.
With Bottas’s penalty added into the equation, Ocon will start Sunday’s race in twelfth right behind team-mate Alonso. The Frenchman is hoping to make up more ground on Sunday, after getting stuck behind Vettel for the entirety of the sprint.
“Today could have been better and we didn’t quite make the most of all the opportunities. We had a good first lap and I was a bit unfortunate with the run out of Turn 2 and then the Safety Car coming out just as I was making a move at Turn 4. After that we were following Sebastian [Vettel] the whole way and I couldn’t complete the move on him. It was one of those races where we could have probably gained more places.
“Tomorrow is the main race, which is longer and there will be more things happening with strategy also to come into play. We’ll be going for it to make our way into the points.”