Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon in ‘good position’ heading into F1 Sprint at Austrian GP

Friday was another positive session, with more evidence of progress, for Alpine.

Amidst the picturesque backdrop provided by the Styrian mountains, 20 Formula 1 cars roared to life on Friday at Red Bull Ring, as qualifying for tomorrow’s F1 Sprint Race was on the schedule. Once again Alpine saw both Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon advance into the third and final segment of qualifying, as both drivers moved out of SQ2 and into SQ3.

While thoughts of an even bigger surprise were quashed there, as Ocon qualified eighth and Gasly ninth, the result was hailed by the team as even more evidence that they are making progress this F1 season.

“I’m happy to have reached SQ3 today and starting in eighth place for tomorrow,” said Ocon in the team’s post-session media report. “Again, we reached the top ten in Qualifying as a team, which is another good performance. SQ3 was far from straightforward as we were at the back of the queue.

“We probably got a little fortunate with Charles [Leclerc] missing the flag at the end and gained a position as a result,” added Ocon. “Even so, the positive is we performed well and we are in a good position in the Sprint Race. We still have work to do and things to understand but it’s pleasing to be heading in a good direction.”

Leclerc’s SF-24 stopped on pit lane with just minutes remaining in SQ3 and while the Ferrari driver was able to get it started and onto the track, he could not post a time during SQ3 and will start the F1 Sprint Race in P10.

On the other side of the garage, Gasly pointed to the improved pace from the A524 as a “good sign” for tomorrow.

“It was a good Sprint Qualifying for the team overall today with both cars reaching SQ3,” described Gasly, who earlier this week announced a new “multi-year” deal with Alpine. “We managed SQ1 and SQ2 well, showed good pace and we progressed through both sessions. We certainly did not [maximize] SQ3. It was a messy one and I did not get a proper push lap. These are things we will review as we always aim to [maximize] all sessions and get the most from it.

“Even so, we had good pace again today – that is pleasing – and again we are inside the top ten. Those cars ahead of us are quick and only the top eight score in the Sprint Race tomorrow. It will not be easy to pick up points but we will try our best and see what we can achieve.”

Thanks to their recent form — Alpine has picked up six points over the last two race weekends — the team has climbed to seventh in the Constructors’ Championship. Coming into the Austrian Grand Prix one of the major storylines was whether Alpine could keep that recent run of form going.

They are certainly off to a good start.

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