Alpine were on ‘the limit’ in super close qualifying

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso and race engineer Karel Loos. Bahrain March 2021.

Fernando Alonso speaks to Alpine race engineer Karel Loos on the grid. Bahrain March 2021.

Making it into Q3 in qualifying for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso says his P10 for the sprint qualifying grid was the “limit” for his Alpine F1 car.

Alonso will start Saturday evening’s sprint qualifying from tenth place on the grid with his team-mate Esteban Ocon missing out on a Q3 berth by half a tenth of a second with Alonso the one to pip him to the final spot in the shoot-out.

However having made it into the top-ten, P10 was as high as Alonso could progress, the Spaniard saying he was on the “limit”.

“It was super close today,” he said.

“Qualifying also started reasonably, and we progressed into Q2 quite comfortably. But then I think from Q2 I was doing very similar lap times and I think we found the limit.

“We wanted to be a little higher and start on the clean side of the grid because the start could be crucial tomorrow.”

The double World Champion has vowed to be aggressive off the line as he looks to make up positions, and qualify higher for Sunday’s grand prix.

“Let’s see what our day is like,” Alonso added, “as it’s Sprint Qualifying after all and we’ve done quite well with them in the past.

“I will be aggressive tomorrow as always and let’s try to have some fun.”

As for Ocon, he was a little frustrated at having missed out on a spot in Q3.

“It was very close out there today between a number of cars,” he said. “We fell on the wrong side of the coin on this occasion, but that’s the way it is sometimes.

“All the way through the sessions, the positions were decided by only a tenth or so, and that was the difference between reaching Q3 or falling just short.

“It’s a little frustrating as the aim is to always be inside the top 10, but we can be pleased that we’re back to where we should be after a run of difficult races.

“The performance was good, we’re knocking on the door of the points and we can look forward to tomorrow.”

He added: “We have an opportunity in the Sprint Qualifying to make up some positions and put ourselves in contention for Sunday’s race.”


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