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Saudi Arabian GP: Qualifying team notes - Alpine

NEWS STORY
04/12/2021

Alpine F1 Team lines up with Esteban Ocon ninth and Fernando Alonso thirteenth for tomorrow's first-ever Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, after a fast and furious qualifying session around the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Q1 got started under the Saudi Arabian night sky, with Fernando and Esteban opting for two push laps on two sets of Soft tyres. Despite a messy final two minutes, which was caused by heavy traffic on the exit of the final corner, Esteban and Fernando progressed to the next session in eleventh and fifteenth positions.

On a continually evolving 6.174km track, both drivers then opted for Mediums for their runs in Q2. On their initial attempts, the Alpine pair aborted their laps, with Fernando unable to get a clear run on his following go.

This left Fernando with only one timed lap on the board and he ruefully exited qualifying in thirteenth position on a 1min 28.920secs. At the same time, Esteban managed two push laps and improved on his second run with a 1min 28.574secs, which was enough to progress to Q3 in ninth position.

Representing Alpine in Q3, Esteban opted for one run on a brand new set of Softs. His first lap saw him slot into ninth position on a 1min 28.816secs. He then improved on his second and final lap of Q3, with a 1min 28.647secs, enough to keep him in ninth place for tomorrow's inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Esteban Ocon: "I'm pretty happy with today's Qualifying in ninth place. 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."

Fernando Alonso: "It was a tricky session for us tonight. 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."

Alan Permane, Sporting Director: "It's a bit of a mixed result for us, and we were hoping for more after a very strong day yesterday. Fernando has not been happy with his car all day - he's not had the planted rear end he had yesterday and wasn't able to push as he wanted. Congratulations to Esteban; he got the most out of the car as ninth was unfortunately as much as we could achieve today. We know we typically go better on Sunday than in qualifying so we will be looking for a strong race tomorrow."

Check out our Saturday gallery from Jeddah, here.

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