Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon will line-up from the seventh row on the grid, after disappointing qualifying at the Italian Grand Prix for the Alpine F1 Team, leaving much work to be done in Saturday’s sprint qualifying. The team have also been fined €5000 for an unsafe release during qualifying two.
Alonso just edged team-mate Ocon at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, to qualify in thirteenth place for Saturday’s sprint qualifying. The Spaniard believes final qualifying may have been possible, had he not messed up his opening lap in qualifying two after locking up at turn one.
Alonso did have a strong start to the day, the veteran ended opening free practice in eighth place, showing that perhaps there is hope for a good haul of points on Sunday if he can make up enough ground during the sprint qualifying.
“We didn’t have many laps today with the shorter format, but we couldn’t find the pace in the end. We got through to Q2 but then my first run in that session wasn’t ideal as I locked up the front tyres going into turn one. This meant I only had one push lap. Q3 might have been possible today with a few tenths to gain.
“It’s the Sprint tomorrow, though, so let’s see what we can do then. It will be more difficult to overtake than it was at Silverstone, and the first few corners will be tight, but we have to remember the points are scored on Sunday.”
“I feel there was a little more left out there for us” – Esteban Ocon
Esteban Ocon ended Friday at the Italian Grand Prix very disappointed, the Frenchman has been on a strong run of recent form and was hoping to continue his run of making it to final qualifying.
Fourteenth was the best Ocon could manage, less than half a tenth behind team-mate Alonso who lines up alongside him on the seventh row of the grid. Like Alonso, Ocon believes that the team’s starting position doesn’t represent their true pace, despite ending free practice one in fifteenth.
Despite the challenging opening day, Ocon is hopeful that a comeback is possible, especially with the uncertainty of sprint qualifying.
“I’m a bit disappointed in our result in qualifying as I feel there was a little more left out there for us. It was very close out there again with our rivals and also close between Fernando and I – less than half a tenth – which does show we’re pushing the car to the maximum. We’ve been on a good run of races reaching Q3, so it’s disappointing for that to end.
“However, this weekend’s format is different to usual and we have tomorrow’s Sprint Qualifying and Sunday’s race to make a comeback. We have positions to make up, but I’m aiming to be on the front foot tomorrow, make some overtakes and put ourselves in a better position for Sunday’s race.”