28. 10. 2023
BWT Alpine F1 Team qualified for the Mexico City Grand Prix with Pierre Gasly eleventh – just 0.081secs from the top ten – and Esteban Ocon sixteenth – 0.064secs from a spot in Q2 – in an afternoon defined by fine margins at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
A difficult final run in Q1 where traffic impacted both drivers’ laps led to Esteban’s Q1 exit in sixteenth place, missing out on a place in the second part of Qualifying. Pierre progressed through Q1 in thirteenth place despite not improving his lap-time on his third push lap.
Pierre looked to make it a third consecutive Q3 appearance as he ran used and then new Softs on his two push laps in Q2. His lap time – a 1min 18.521secs – was enough for eleventh place, just 0.081secs from a spot in the top ten shootout. Sunday’s Mexico City Grand Prix begins at 14:00 local time.
Esteban, P16, 1:19.080secs; Pierre, P13, 1:18.945secs
Pierre, P11, 1:18.521secs
Esteban Ocon: “It’s been a tough Saturday and an unfortunate day for us. After a positive Friday, and with the target of reaching Q3, it’s certainly a tough one to take to exit in Q1. We tried to be aggressive in Q1 on two sets of tyres and, in the end, it did not pay off with some traffic and incidents on my second push lap. It’s certainly frustrating as we were not able to show our true potential and I know there was more on the table today, especially given the close margins throughout the field. Points are scored on Sundays and I remain optimistic for tomorrow’s race. I have had some good starts this year and another one tomorrow will be important. We have to put ourselves in a position to take any opportunities and scoring points remains my goal.”
Pierre Gasly: “I’m satisfied with eleventh place today as that is slightly above the expectations we set heading into Qualifying. We know this track layout does not seem to suit the strengths of our car so it was important to maximise everything we had in our hands today. We knew it would be a challenging afternoon in Qualifying where even making it out of Q1 would be extremely close. We made good improvements between Practice and Qualifying and we have to continue looking into the reasons as to why we have found it so hard at this track. We will go with the flow tomorrow, see what we can do on strategy, and give it our all in the race. We are in a decent starting position to contend for points and that remains our objective on race day.”
Julian Rouse, Interim Sporting Director: “It was a tricky Qualifying session today with traffic management being a prominent feature around this track. The field was again closely matched, meaning that the smallest of margins resulted in the difference between three or four places on the grid. Neither driver improved on their final runs in Q1, with both Esteban and Pierre being hampered by some traffic both on out laps, when tyre warm-up is key, and on their push laps. Unfortunately for Esteban this meant he did not progress through Q1, narrowly missing out by less than a tenth. Pierre only had one new set of Soft tyres for Q2 and just fell short of making it into Q3. His lap was pretty good and eleventh was about as good as it could have been for this weekend. We will review our options overnight in terms of strategy and will look to extract the maximum from tomorrow’s Grand Prix. The aim will be to improve on our starting positions, with an eye on getting both cars into the top-ten.”