This Saturday, at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the two Alpines reached Q3. However, this more than encouraging performance is tempered by the instability of the A523, which both drivers complained about, starting with Esteban Ocon, who achieved a promising sixth place on the grid: “Cshe has been moving everywhere for two days […] I scared myself too much this weekend.”
The story is similar on the side of Pierre Gasly, who was perfectly comfortable in Free Practice 3 before becoming disillusioned in qualifying, more or less two-tenths behind Ocon through the three stages of the session.
“This morning I felt better than ever in this car and I was very optimistic for qualifying”notes the Norman, qualified tenth and was promoted to ninth on the grid. “Without knowing why I had huge problems tonight, I didn’t get a single good lap in all of qualifying. So there’s work and a few things to analyze. I really don’t quite understand why I had a lot more problems tonight.” .”
What exactly happened in the car: “I just slipped. I didn’t understand the warm-up, I couldn’t do a single good lap in the first two corners, I slipped. It was very different from EL3, so I’m just trying to analyze what went well this morning and what was different this afternoon. Weekend after weekend we polish everything.”
Gasly had a hard time in qualifying as a result, but Friday’s long stints gave him hope that the deal would turn out differently in the race. “Like I said, there’s not a lap tonight that I’m really happy with. Every time I went through the first two corners it was a bit of a nightmare. Put it all together. There are a lot of positives, we’ll start ninth tomorrow, it’s a lot better than Bahrain. I’m pretty confident with our race pace, we’ll fight, but in qualifying we have some pain on the plate”concludes the Alpine driver, who had moved up from 20th to ninth in Sakhir.