Esteban Ocon laments ‘worst qualifying session of the year’ after Q1 exit

Sam Cooper
Esteban Ocon in the Alpine garage. Abu Dhabi November 2022.

Alpine driver Esteban Ocon puffs his cheeks while in the garage. Abu Dhabi November 2022.

Esteban Ocon labelled it the “worst qualifying session of the year” after he failed to get out of Q1 in Zandvoort.

Barring the result of many summons by the FIA, Ocon will start Sunday’s race in 17th, his lowest grid spot since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

While Pierre Gasly was able to do better, qualifying 12th, Ocon said his whole weekend had been compromised by “very strange behaviour.”

“No, unfortunately, there wasn’t,” he told media including when asked if there was anything more in the car. “Which makes it even more disappointing.

“It was clearly the worst qualifying session of the year, not getting out of Q1. I was struggling with the rear end of the car and also lacking some stability in some corners that were strengths of mine in the past year.

“Just very strange behaviour that we have had since the beginning of the weekend and more issues appearing in the wet conditions

“That’s something we need to find answers for tomorrow.

“We’ve coming from far worse in the past and bounced back on Sundays so hopefully we can do that tomorrow.”

Perhaps most disappointing for Ocon was it appeared his problems were not a result of Alpine’s upgrades or indeed the track.

“I don’t think it’s either track specific or in relation to the upgrades at all,” he said. “I think there’s something different in there and something that we need to investigate.

“There’s some more hours of work that we can do when we get the data. It’s not physically possible to touch the car normally but if there’s a clear issue, we can fix it.” recommends

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Ocon also suggested Alpine were unaware of how big the problem was until he started to push on a flying lap.

“We had a lot of different circumstances in FP3, not many laps,” the 26-year-old said. “We didn’t think it was going to be that bad.

“But by the time you really push and take the risk in quali, you really see the big limitations of what we had experienced today.

“And today, we had huge limitations in all the high speed corners. Low speed, we’re quite competitive. But, [Turns] 7, 8, 9, 10 it was clearly a disaster.”

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