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Australian GP: Qualifying team notes - Alpine

NEWS STORY
09/04/2022

BWT Alpine F1 Team's Esteban Ocon qualified in eighth place for tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix with team-mate Fernando Alonso in tenth. The Spaniard unfortunately crashed in the final part of qualifying as a result of an issue - still to be investigated - that caused his A522 to come to a halt mid-corner. Fernando had lit-up the timing screens during all three qualifying sessions and looked destined for a front row position on the grid.

Despite this, the result continues Alpine's good qualifying form this season, which has so far yielded a Q3 appearance at all three rounds of the Championship.

In Q1 both Alpine drivers progressed into the next session after several delays for various incidents. For Q2, the team's pace was again strong, and Fernando progressed comfortably in fifth place, with Esteban in tenth.

For the top ten shootout, Fernando was quick in sector one of his first push lap, and then fastest of all in the middle sector, before the issue, which brought an end to his qualifying. As the only Alpine remaining, Esteban took two attempts and brought his car home in eighth position, with his fastest lap of the day, a 1min 19.061secs.

Esteban Ocon: "It's a bittersweet result for us today. Having both cars into Q3 is a decent result but it's a shame that Fernando could not complete his lap as he was on for a mega one. I know the team is looking into exactly what happened but he has shown great pace all weekend. On my side it hasn't been the smoothest of days, but I need to be happy in the end with eighth. We're in the fight for tomorrow, and that's what matters. There's definitely plenty of work to do and I know there is pace to find so we'll be leaving no stone unturned to try and put everything together to maximise our race tomorrow."

Fernando Alonso: "It seems we are very unlucky in these three races so far and to have this issue today in qualifying is a real shame. We had the pace for the top three or maybe even the front row today and on my Q3 lap I felt very fast. I'm not surprised to be this close to the leaders because we've been working hard as a team. Each weekend we have got better and better, so that is a positive. It's been the best weekend for years for me personally, and it's frustrating we weren't able to deliver it today. Let's see how the car is overnight and do our investigations. Hopefully we can aim to score some points tomorrow."

Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal: "Today's qualifying outcome is a missed opportunity for us as the potential was there for a very strong team result. It's positive that we have both cars into Q3 for the second race in a row. That said, the potential was truly there to have both our cars in the top five today such was the strength of our package around this track. As it turns out, we're starting in eighth and tenth, and we know we can still have a strong race from there. Our race pace looked positive on Friday, so we'll certainly aim to convert this starting position into strong points. Fernando was certainly fast today. We will investigate the issue that caused his incident. It's just unfortunate today as we were good enough to start much higher on the grid."

Check out our Saturday gallery from Melbourne, here.

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