Formula 1 | Alpine F1 signs a great qualification in Russia

Alpine F1 Team finished sixth with Fernando Alonso and tenth with Esteban Ocon in a thrilling qualifying session on the drying track of the Sochi Autodrome hosting the Russian Grand Prix. The result marks the team’s fifth double appearance in Q3 this season.

The night showers continued until Saturday morning, causing the cancellation of Free Practice 3. The skies were however milder with a lull before qualifying and the session started at 3:00 pm local time.

In Q1, Esteban started in new intermediates while Fernando was the only one to bet on rain tires to establish his first time before imitating the rest of the peloton. Conditions improving rapidly, the Spaniard finished seventh and the French ninth to easily enter Q2.

The duo then advanced in Q3, Fernando and Esteban ranking third and fifth respectively thanks to their good performance in intermediaries at the end of Q2.

On an increasingly dry track, the competitors put on slick tires in the last minutes of Q3. Fernando passed the tender halfway through to sign a lap of 1’44 »204, earning him sixth place in his second effort.

“I’m happy with my sixth place in qualifying because the conditions were tough today. It was very stressful as we had never driven in the rain in Sochi. There was no time to experiment and find out where the grip is best. We were finally competitive on this wet and soggy track. I lost about five tenths of a second on my last lap in Q3, so I could have qualified even better than sixth. It will be difficult tomorrow as several very fast cars will start behind us, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. « 

Esteban, he did not improve on his only attempt in tender and remained tenth with his 1’45 »865 completed in intermediates.

“I’m a little frustrated with qualifying today as we weren’t able to optimize Q3 in the changing conditions. In the end, we didn’t put on the right tires at the right time in Q3 and we were missing two attempts on soft. We clearly had the potential to do better than tenth as I like these tough sessions. On the plus side we have the two cars that will start in the top ten and it’s not a bad starting position. Tomorrow is going to be a dry day, but we’ll be ready, whatever the conditions. « 

Davide Brivio, competition director, notes that, “We came out of this difficult qualifying with our two cars in the top ten in Q3, which is positive. We had the potential to finish a bit higher as Fernando made a small mistake costing him time on the last lap while Esteban needed an extra attempt on slicks late in the session. We are still well placed to extend our series of thirteen races in the points tomorrow, where we hope for dry conditions, and therefore very different from today. « 

Video – The 2021 Russian GP starting grid

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