Formula 1

Esteban Ocon: “We’ll see what we can do from ninth on the grid”

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Credit: Alpine F1 Team

Esteban Ocon was happy with his performance during Qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Saturday evening, with the Frenchman set to start Sunday’s race from ninth on the grid.

The Alpine F1 Team racer admitted he has confidence in his A521 car this weekend at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, and this showed when he made it into the top ten shootout under the floodlights on Saturday evening.

Ocon believes the race on Sunday will be a very physical one, much akin to the races in Singapore, but he is confident he can translate his positive Qualifying result into a points finish.

“I’m pretty happy with today’s Qualifying in ninth place,” said Ocon.  “I was pleased with my laps and, as a team, we’ve worked really well this weekend.

“I’ve got the confidence in the car, which is needed around here in order to really push on the low fuel laps. It’s a shame we couldn’t put both cars into Q3, but we had a quick car in FP2 and hopefully we can carry that into the race with both Fernando and I aiming to score.

“It’s going to be a long race tomorrow. It’s very hot, a very busy lap, maybe similar to Singapore in terms of physicality, but I’m looking forward to it. We’ll see what we can do from ninth on the grid and we’ll give it our best for another solid team result.”

“Today from FP3 and into qualifying the car felt very different” – Fernando Alonso

Team-mate Fernando Alonso was unable to join Ocon inside the top ten, with the Spaniard set to start the first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix from thirteenth on the grid.

The Spaniard said the feeling he had with the car on Friday had disappeared during Saturday’s running, and as such, Qualifying was much more difficult than anticipated, and it left him on the seventh row of the grid for Sunday’s race.

Nevertheless, he is hopeful that the overtaking seen in FIA Formula 2 this weekend can translate into him moving forward on race day as he bids to build on his podium finish from the Qatar Grand Prix.

“It was a tricky session for us tonight,” said Alonso.  “Yesterday the car felt fast and had a good balance, but today from FP3 and into qualifying the car felt very different.

“On a street circuit and going close to the walls it’s quite difficult when you aren’t totally comfortable with the balance. We saw in Formula 2 there were more overtakes than expected, so while I think it will be more difficult for us to follow at such high speeds, we remain hopeful to make up ground tomorrow.

“I hope to have a clean race tomorrow and we need to make sure to score more points in our battle for fifth place.”

Fernando Alonso was only thirteenth in Qualifying in Saudi Arabia – Credit: Alpine F1 Team
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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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