BWT Alpine F1 Team claimed well-earned double points from today's Bahrain Grand Prix with Esteban Ocon finishing seventh and Fernando Alonso ninth after a gripping season-opener in Sakhir.
Patience, clinical driving and reliability proved decisive in today's result with both drivers facing a three-stop strategy during the taxing 57-lap race.
Esteban began well from eleventh on the grid on new Softs pushing up into the top 10 on the opening lap, despite tagging Mick Schumacher at Turn 6, which resulted in a five-second time penalty. Esteban served the penalty at his first pit-stop on lap 14. The Frenchman swiftly weaved his way back through the field, pitting again on lap 30 for Hards and lap 43 under the Safety Car for Softs.
Fernando's race was less straight forward with challenging stints on all three tyre compounds. The Spaniard was always knocking on the door for points throughout and, like Esteban, benefitted from the hat-trick of retirements to cars ahead in the closing stages to climb into the points.
With eight points scored from today's Grand Prix, the team heads to Saudi Arabia next weekend, sitting fifth in the Constructors' Championship.
Esteban Ocon: "I'm very pleased with today and it's a great start to the season with double points secured for the team. Our pace today was strong, there were some good overtakes and the team made the right calls on strategy. I'd like to say a special shoutout to the pit crew as well who were excellent with so many pit-stops today. Other than the incident with Mick, which I hold my hands up and apologise for, I was pretty pleased with my race. We will debrief with the team, we can take positives from today's performance and we look ahead to next week. Onwards and upwards."
Fernando Alonso: "I'm happy to score two points in today's first race of the season. It was not easy out there with the high tyre degradation, which we were all expecting going into the race. We defended a lot during the first stint and pushed quite hard, so perhaps this was less than ideal. We have to keep learning about these new tyres and it'll probably be a big topic throughout the season. Overall, I think overtaking is easier because the tyres are all at different levels and following the cars ahead is better. We go again next weekend in Saudi Arabia, where no doubt it'll be a different set of challenges."
Laurent Rossi: "What a fantastic way to start the season for the team with both Esteban and Fernando scoring deserved points today. This is certainly a great achievement, which, ultimately, is down to the three core pillars that construct our team from Enstone, Viry and the trackside team. This result is a credit to everyone's hard work to prepare the A522-RE22 package over the winter and, indeed, ensure we had the means to compete for points. Thanks to everyone for their commitment and dedication over the past couple of months and now, we undoubtedly have the means to make our 2022 challenger even more competitive in the coming races. Esteban and Fernando drove great races today with overtaking aplenty throughout the field, which is especially exciting for the Formula 1 spectacle. It was a long and very tough race for them with strategy playing a key part. The pit-stop crew were also immense across all six stops during the race, so thanks to them for maintaining focus and precision when it mattered. We've had a taste for how thrilling the 2022 season could shape up to be. We now look forward to Saudi Arabia next weekend where, I'm sure, the racing will be as exciting. Our aim is to continue the hard work and pick up more points with both cars."
Check out our Sunday gallery from Bahrain, here.