Sao Paulo GP: Qualifying team notes - Alpine


BWT Alpine F1 Team will start tomorrow's third and final Sprint Qualifying of the season with Esteban Ocon sixth and Fernando Alonso seventh on the grid, after a dramatic, rain-affected Friday Qualifying session at Interlagos for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

The session was tense and thrilling throughout with early rain in Q1 easing for Q2 before returning for Q3, bringing difficult calls from the pit wall on tyre strategy due to the changeable conditions.

Eventually, both Esteban and Fernando opted for Soft tyres early in Q3, with their sole laps - a 1min 12.425secs for Esteban and a 1min 12.504secs for Fernando - good enough for sixth and seventh on the grid for Saturday's 24-lap Sprint Qualifying, which determines the grid for Sunday's Grand Prix.

Fernando leapt to the top of the timesheets throughout the afternoon, as he adapted quickly to the conditions across both Intermediate and Soft tyres between Q1 and Q2. Esteban followed Fernando through to Q3, just as a band of rain approached the circuit.

Both drivers banked a lap on Softs at the beginning of Q3, before a red flag for George Russell halted proceedings just as the rain grew in intensity, bringing an end to any meaningful running in the session.

Esteban Ocon: "I'd like to first congratulate Haas and Kevin [Magnussen] for their result today. They took a risk and it paid off, so I am happy for them. For us, it was of course a challenging Qualifying session but, in the end, it's a good result for the team, finishing in sixth and seventh. It was very tricky today with the weather and we managed tyre choices well, which was important. Tomorrow is a great opportunity as the grid is quite mixed up compared to what we're used to, so we'll need to be at our best to take home the valuable points on offer for the Sprint race."

Fernando Alonso: "I'm pleased with today's Qualifying, which we had to execute in very tricky conditions. In the beginning, with the Intermediate tyres, we adapted quickly, and it was nice to be in first place! Once we switched to dry tyres, we were again in first place throughout, and we seemed to be fast in these challenging conditions. In Q3, when it started raining, it was always going to be a benefit to the ones at the front of the queue. We probably missed a chance to start higher up for the Sprint, but tomorrow the aim is to make up some places and I'm sure that is possible."

Alan Permane, Sporting Director: "We're happy with our Qualifying today with Esteban in sixth and Fernando in seventh ahead of tomorrow's Sprint. These sessions, with the mixed conditions, are always tricky to manage as it's about striking a balance between risk and reward. Of course, we have an eye on the championship and we took an air of caution in our decision making in these wet-dry conditions. We didn't need to take any risks today as we know there's a long way to go this weekend with the Sprint and the main Race when points are scored. Today, Q3 was particularly challenging as it was about either banking an early lap on dry tyres before the rain or opt for Intermediates and await what might come. Eventually, we settled on sneaking a lap on Soft tyres - like most others - and we're pleased to start in sixth and seventh. It means we're in the mix for some points tomorrow and we'll be doing everything we can to ensure we are in competitive grid spots for Sunday's Race."

Check out our Friday gallery from Interlagos here.

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 11/11/2022
Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.