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Hungary GP: Qualifying team notes - Alpine

NEWS STORY
31/07/2021

Alpine F1 Team will start tomorrow's Hungarian Grand Prix with both cars inside the top ten after Esteban Ocon qualified eighth and Fernando Alonso ninth in a competitive Saturday Qualifying session at the Hungaroring.

It's the first time since Spain that the team has reached Q3 with both cars.

The hot Hungarian conditions continued from yesterday with high temperatures peaking at 30C air and 60C on track.

Both drivers gambled in Q1, opting for one run on new Softs (C4), with Fernando comfortably through in tenth place on a 1min 17.123secs and Esteban on a 1min 17.367secs.

In Q2, Fernando found further improvements and momentarily held third place as he dipped below the 1min 17secs barrier with a purple second sector. The session was halted as a result of Carlos Sainz's crash at the final corner, bringing an eight-minute delay. Esteban improved from a 1min 17.286 to join Fernando in the 1min 16secs with both drivers safely progressing to the top 10 shootout.

As a result of saving a set of Softs from Q1, both drivers had two attempts on new tyres in Q3. Esteban briefly held first place on a 1min 16.660secs, settling to sixth after all other cars had run, with Fernando in ninth, 0.1secs adrift. Both drivers made small improvements on their second set, qualifying in eighth for Esteban and ninth for Fernando.

Esteban Ocon: "It feels good as it's been a while since I've been in Q3. We managed to put it all together today and there was actually a lot of understanding and learning throughout the session, which is great. We weren't quite where we wanted to be in Q2, but we managed to progress and then put it all together in Q3. I'm happy with that as it's a track I really enjoy, and it was a good session from the team. Tomorrow will be tricky, of course, as it's going to be warm again. It's difficult to overtake here but we're in a good starting position, which is important, and the aim is to make more places and score as many points as we can."

Fernando Alonso: "We can be happy with that day. We did not know where our level of competitiveness at this circuit would lie, so to get both cars into Q3 for the first time in a while is very good. We perhaps thought we could be higher up the order after the performance in Q2 but there was a little bit of inconsistency on the tyre behaviour between sets. Let's try and finish the job tomorrow - the start will be a big factor and then you try to consolidate whatever position you are in as it's super difficult to overtake here. We have a high chance to score with both cars and that's clearly the target for tomorrow."

Davide Brivio, Racing Director: "We're very pleased today to put both cars in the top 10 for the first time since Spain. We know that this circuit is difficult to overtake on, so it was very important to have both cars as high up the grid as possible for tomorrow's race. Both drivers did a good job and it's great that Esteban has continued his form to return to Q3. The whole team managed the session well, so that's good. The work will continue overnight in preparation for tomorrow's race, which we know will be challenging. The weather could be unstable, but, dry or wet, we'll be ready. We're looking forward to this last race before the well-deserved break."

Check out our Saturday gallery from the Hungaroring, here.

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