Esteban Ocon insists it was a tricky Friday for everyone at Albert Park after multiple interruptions and disruptions across both free practice sessions.
The BWT Alpine F1 Team driver was only sixteenth fastest in the opening hour of practice, but time was lost thanks to red flags for GPS system issues and Logan Sargeant stopping on track. However, he placed an encouraging sixth in the second session, although there was only around fifteen minutes of meaningful running before rain hit the track.
Ocon says it will be important to use what they learned during their time on track on Friday and build on it during Saturday’s final hour of running in order to be in a good position going into Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.
“It’s always nice to be back driving in Melbourne although it’s fair to say that it was a tricky Friday for everyone today,” said Ocon. “After some decent laps on Hards, Free Practice 1 was interrupted by a GPS issue, which impacted the whole grid and made running on the Soft compound very tricky.
“We saw heavy traffic and the session was red flagged very quickly. Thereafter, the afternoon session saw us completing one good run before rain hit the track, making it impossible to run dry tyres ahead of what looks to be a dry Qualifying and Race.
“It will be up to us to use the limited learning from today and maximise it ahead of tomorrow and Sunday’s Grand Prix.”
“It’s been a reasonable Friday for us” – Pierre Gasly
Team-mate Pierre Gasly believes Alpine are in a ‘decent position’ after Friday despite the restricted running, but he knows how important it will be to get significant track time during Saturday’s final hour of practice.
The Frenchman was eighth fastest in the first session on Friday and tenth in the second but knows they will have to be ‘decisive’ about which way to set-up the car for the rest of the weekend, and he hopes they go in the right direction with it.
“It’s been a reasonable Friday for us today and I’ve been pleased with the running we managed to complete,” Gasly said. “It was not a smooth day in terms of being on-track due to the red flag in the first session and then the rain in the second session, so we definitely have a lot of work to do ahead of tomorrow and we will need to be decisive in the car set-up.
“I felt good in the car, and I think we’re in a decent position ahead of the rest of the weekend. It looks like it will be dry tomorrow and Sunday, so we’ll need to maximise tomorrow’s Free Practice 3 to be in good shape for Qualifying in the afternoon.”