Alpine’s Pierre Gasly was given two three-place grid penalties for impeding rivals during qualifying for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, dropping the Frenchman from fourth to 10th on the Formula 1 starting grid.
Stewards ruled Gasly had unnecessarily impeded Red Bull’s championship leader Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who went on to qualify first and second respectively for Sunday’s race at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.
Gasly reacted in the Alpine team report from Barcelona Qualy: “I’m very pleased to qualify in fourth place in Qualifying today, my best result with Alpine this season. It was very close out there, very fine margins between many cars.
“In the end we’re just less than one tenth of a second from being on the front row. We built up our session well, kept finding improvements and then we finished with a very good lap in Q3, which was really enjoyable I must say.
“It’s a real pity we will not start from the second row after the penalty for impeding. I think it was very unfortunate with the traffic, cars so close together and the high-speed final corners. We have to accept it, move on and keep our heads down for tomorrow where I know we can still have a strong race,” insisted Gasly, whose Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon will now start from sixth place.
Alpine had both cars at the sharp end of qualifying in Barcelona
Ocon summed up: “It’s been another positive day for us. A big shoutout to Enstone and Viry as the car has been strong again this weekend and the updates we have brought have been working well.
“We had both cars into Q3 which was the aim today so well done to the team for that achievement. We performed well all of Qualifying up until the last run in Q3 where I did not quite nail the lap and lost some valuable lap time.
“That said, seventh on the grid tomorrow is not a bad place to start and we will give it all to finish with some strong points. I also have to say it’s great to see a bit of a mix-up on the grid ahead of the race. It’s great for the sport and I think we’ll have an exciting Sunday and of course, we’ll be pushing for some good points,” added Ocon.
Alpine received a timely boost with a 21 points haul in Monaco last Sunday, coupled to a better understanding of their car which is run by a muh improved team (since the Laurent Rossi bollocking) means the French equipe are fourth in the 2023 F1 Construtcors’ standings