Alonso and Alpine ‘happy’ to achieve double-points finish in Bahrain
Alpine left Bahrain in good spirits, both cars achieving points finishes. It was a positive result from a difficult start to the season, the team experiencing reliability problems in Bahrain testing. Fernando Alonso suffered the most notable, hydraulic problems on the final day of the test ending the team’s programme early.
The teething problems seen in testing continued in the first practice session, when the sidepod cover on Ocon’s car dramatically parted from the chassis. However the team recovered well in qualifying, Alonso qualifying the A522 eighth, with his teammate Esteban Ocon just missing out on the top ten in eleventh.
The race did not start well for Ocon, tangling with Mick Schumacher’s Haas, spinning the young German to the back of the field. Ocon would receive a five-second time penalty for the incident, but recovered to finish P7 at the chequered flag. After the race, Ocon apologised to Schumacher both in person and in the media.
Ocon was pleased with both his and the team’s result after the race, but also commented on his incident with Schumacher: “I’m pretty happy with the end result and pretty happy to be scoring with both cars,” said Ocon.
The only thing to take away from this race was the contact with Mick. I can only apologise, it was my bad, so it is a shame about that first lap incident but from there on, the pace was amazing.
Ocon cut his way through the field during the race, enjoying overtaking his rivals as he gained position after position: “We were coming back up, making some nice overtaking manoeuvres. It was good strategy as well with three stops, so for me it’s a first. For the team it’s not often we have races like that. It was good fun and we executed nicely.”
Schumacher gets sent spinning after contact with Ocon
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Teammate Alonso qualified well in seventh, but struggled during the race, finishing in P9. Summarising his race, Alonso was ‘happy’ with the team performance: “We have to be happy,” he said.
“It’s the first race of the year so you never know what to expect. We scored points with both cars in a difficult race. There was a lot of tyre management, a lot of new things. There were a couple of challenges ahead of today’s race and I think the team did a good job.”
Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi was also pleased with the Enstone team’s performance. “What a fantastic way to start the season for the team with both Esteban and Fernando scoring deserved points today.
This is certainly a great achievement, which, ultimately, is down to the three core pillars that construct our team from Enstone, Viry and the trackside team.”
Alpine’s double point finish has the team on 8 points, fifth in the Constructors championship after one round.