BWT Alpine F1 Team’s campaign at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix resulted in a sixth place finish for Esteban Ocon and an unfortunate retirement for Fernando Alonso, keeping them from achieving a double-points finish at Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
“We don’t know what happened yet but we’ll investigate the issue tonight. We did lose a chunk of points today, but it’s good to see the car performing well tonight and all weekend. I think we deserved sixth place today and we were having a good race, so it’s bad luck we couldn’t get to the end,” Fernando Alonso said.
A main talking point from the Grand Prix was the entertaining battle between the Alpine teammates in the beginning stages of the race. Alpine Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer did not step in to stop the teammates from racing, allowing for some of the most memorable on-track action during the race.
“The battle with Esteban on track was fair, we always respect one another out there. We had some close fights in Bahrain too and always try to do the best for the team.
“I was a little bit faster during the race and so I made the overtake and I had to watch out for Bottas as well. We could have scored double points tonight, but we are still fourth in the championship and we go again in Australia,” Alonso said.
Ocon – “It was hard, fair, wheel to wheel racing, which reminded me of the karting days”
Ocon was pleased with his performance, and relished the ability to battle closely in the new-regulation 2022 car, an experience that brought back memories of karting.
“It’s some good points scored again for us and I’m happy overall with my race. The fight with Fernando was enjoyable. It was hard, fair, wheel to wheel racing, which reminded me of the karting days. With these cars, you can really race and follow, which is good for the sport,” Ocon said.
In spite of the points lost to Alonso’s reliability issue, Ocon felt the team further proved their contention with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. A highlight for the French driver was the tight push to the finish line against Lando Norris, which closely mirrored his battle for third with Valtteri Bottas at the same venue last year.
Ultimately, Ocon missed out on that final podium position to Bottas by about a tenth of a second. This year, he was able to redeem himself and deny Norris sixth place by a likewise slim margin.
“It’s a shame we couldn’t put both cars into the points but we’re showing that we’re competitive and we must continue that. It was an exciting end to the race as well just beating Lando [Norris] to the line. It felt a bit like redemption for last year!” Ocon said.
With Ocon adding on eight points to the team’s total in Jeddah, Alpine ranks fourth in the Constructors’ Championship with 16 points.