Monday, May 27, 2024

Esteban Ocon: “There is still some work to do to get the car in decent shape”

Esteban Ocon was satisfied after Friday’s two practice sessions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with the Frenchman ending encouragingly inside the top five in both.

The BWT Alpine F1 Team driver, fresh off the back of a third place finish in the Monaco Grand Prix last weekend, finished third fastest in the opening hour of practice on Friday before closing out the day fifth overall, just 0.335 seconds back on pacesetter Max Verstappen.

Ocon felt the team made good progress with the set-up of its A523 between the two sessions, and although he knows there is still some more progress to come, it was a good start to the weekend for the Enstone-based outfit.

“It was a productive Friday here at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the team,” said Ocon.  “We used both Free Practice sessions well, testing different things and getting through our planned programme.

“We made the necessary changes from Free Practice 1 to Free Practice 2 but there is still some work to do to get the car in decent shape both on low and high fuel.

“Overall, we are satisfied with the day’s work, with plenty to go through tonight in order to be in a good position for Qualifying.”

“There’s a few small things for us to solve on our side” – Pierre Gasly

Team-mate Pierre Gasly echoed the thoughts of Ocon, the second Frenchman within the team ending inside the top ten in both sessions.

Gasly was fifth fastest in the first session in Spain and the first session running without the chicane in the final sector, something the one-time race winner felt was a nice challenge.

He ended the day tenth fastest in the second session, just two tenths of a second behind Ocon, and like his team-mate, he feels there are some ‘small things’ to change to improve the car ahead of Saturday’s Qualifying session.

“I would say it’s been a solid day for us in Barcelona,” said Gasly. “The car felt good and we’ve made a decent start to our weekend which has given us a foundation to build from for the rest of the weekend.

“It’s been good to be back at a permanent race track and a nice challenge with the revised circuit layout without the chicane, which makes the lap feel very quick.

“There’s a few small things for us to solve on our side – normal for any Friday – and I’m feeling confident that we can have a strong outcome tomorrow for Qualifying where we aim for another Q3 appearance.”

Pierre Gasly ended inside the top ten in both sessions – Credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team.