Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

Misfire on final lap cost Ocon a second-row start for Spanish Grand Prix

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Esteban Ocon was pleased to qualify fifth for the Spanish Grand Prix but said he would be starting one place higher if he hadn’t suffered a misfire on his final lap.

The Alpine driver set a 1’17.580 on his first lap in Q3, which ultimately proved good enough for fifth on the grid. Ocon said he was on course to better that time when he suffered a problem with his car.

“I was improving on that second Q3 run,” said Ocon. “We had a little issue on the car towards the end of the lap that stopped us from actually improving on that run too. So a little bit disappointed with that.

“We can’t complain with a P5 but I think today P4 was possible.”

Ocon reported a misfire and drive-ability problems with his Renault power unit to his team following his final lap in qualifying.

Alonso took 10th after encountering traffic in Q3
Nonetheless he was encouraged to take his best starting position of the season so far by out-qualifying both McLarens and splitting the Ferrari drivers. “It is the confirmation that we wanted coming here,” said Ocon.

“We had a tough weekend, obviously, last year. Coming from Portimao where the car was working relatively well last week, it’s also a unique track, the grip being quite low and the tyres has been a bit different to the rest of the year. Coming here into Barcelona, everyone knows the track very well and all the teams are quick.

“So we kept going, we kept finding a little few things on the car all the way through those two days, Friday and Saturday. And we’re very pleased that we have the confirmation that it is working like we want and we have the pace to be in the top five today.

“So a great job by everybody in Viry and Enstone to keep digging, keep on searching. And today it’s been paying off again like Portimao but even better, I would say.”

Ocon’s team mate Fernando Alonso, who only had one new set of soft tyres available for Q3, qualified 10th after his preparation for his final lap was disrupted by traffic.

“I didn’t put the lap in Q3,” he said. “I had only one new set of tyres and the last run was compromised by the traffic and everyone going at the last minute.

Daniel Ricciardo and myself, we were the last two cars. I had to stop in the last corner because there was five cars in front and I think I crossed the line with one second and Daniel didn’t make it. So that’s how messy it was.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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9 comments on “Misfire on final lap cost Ocon a second-row start for Spanish Grand Prix”

  1. This is one guy that I would love to see in a competitive car. Don’t think he’s tier 1 like Hammilton, Verstappen or like his teammate was on his glory… But he could be and has a lot to show.

  2. The good old James May misfire

    1. I was thinking the same as soon as I saw the title!

  3. I only saw it on the driver tracker. Amateur hour for f1 standards.

    1. That’s just the thing. It IS amateur hour or certainly looks like it yet every damn race weekend the teams do exactly the same thing when it comes to qualifying.

      They sit and sit and sit until the very last second before releasing their cars for their final runs and we end up with a whole heap of cars getting in each other’s road at the end of warm up laps while they all back up to get room.

      There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for a driver having a compromised lap or missing their final run completely but still teams persist in running that risk over and over.

      Pure madness.

      1. Hans van Voonebosch
        9th May 2021, 7:21

        A lot of intelligent people work at F1 teams, so for now lets assume it’s not madness, but a calculated risk instead. Apparenty there’s an advantage in waiting. Teams can indeed choose to not wait until the last minute so that they won’t run into any traffic, but if as a result this costs them laptime because of less than optimal track conditions, waiting might indeed be the best option.

  4. Very encouraging for Alpine this. I really thought they would suffer the whole year. And Ocon whopping Alonso in qualifying is quite something.

    1. Alonso’s forte was never qualifying

      1. Apart from most of his second spell at McLaren where he was seen as one of the best Qualifiers on the grid, constantly putting that car (especially the Honda ones) where it didn’t deserve to be?

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