27 May 2023
BWT Alpine F1 Team’s Esteban Ocon was just 0.188secs off a maiden Formula 1 pole position after an intense and gripping Qualifying fight on the streets of Monte Carlo, with the top five drivers split by less than two tenths of a second.
Esteban will line up in a sensational third place for Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix – his best Qualifying result since joining the Enstone-Viry team in 2020 - with team-mate Pierre Gasly also comfortably inside the top ten in seventh place after a strong Saturday afternoon.
It marks a fantastic team result ahead of Sunday’s prestigious 80th Monaco Grand Prix, where the team aims to capitalise on its strong grid positions in tomorrow’s 78-lap race, which begins at 15:00 local time.
Free Practice 3
Esteban, P9, 1:13.496secs, 18 laps; Pierre, P6, 1:13.453secs, 24 laps
Esteban, P11, 1:12.967secs; Pierre, P13, 1:13.033secs
Esteban, P8, 1:12.248secs; Pierre, P6, 1:12.169secs
Esteban, P4, 1:11.553secs; Pierre, P7, 1:11.933secs
Esteban will start P3 as a result of Charles Leclerc’s post-session grid penalty
Esteban Ocon: “What a day! First of all, a big well done to the entire team, both at the track and at the factories in Enstone and Viry. Our result really shows that hard work pays off. I felt comfortable right from the beginning in Qualifying and I gave it my all on that last lap. Starting in fourth place on the grid in Monaco is great spot to be in and while I’m very happy now, we know we cannot settle for that as there’s a long way to go this weekend. We worked incredibly hard to get ourselves in this position so we will stay focused to bring home some good points for the team. Bring on tomorrow’s race.”
Pierre Gasly: “That was a very intense Qualifying and it’s good that we’ve come away with a great outcome for the team. I’m relatively satisfied with seventh but there was definitely more on my side so I do have bittersweet feelings in that regard. The car felt strong and we were obviously up there and competitive, with Esteban doing a really good job to be in fourth place. I just didn’t quite get it together in Q3 with some rear sliding on my push lap. Even so, to start seventh in Monaco puts us in a very good place for tomorrow’s race where we must aim for a big haul of points from both cars.”
Alan Permane, Sporting Director: “We are very pleased with today’s Qualifying in Monaco with Esteban claiming a very impressive fourth position - third on the grid – with Charles’ [Leclerc] penalty and Pierre in seventh. The car has looked strong all weekend – comfortably inside the top 10 – and today was all about good communication between drivers and engineers, clean execution from the team and staying composed amongst three very busy and intense sessions. It’s always a great feeling to be in the mix for pole position, with Esteban running on a quiet track to go into provisional pole with an outstanding lap. Pierre also did a good job and we’ll look into what could have gone better on his side in Q3. Still, there is a long way to go this weekend. We know it’s a tough race around this track and we must be ready to seize any opportunities ahead of us. And with such good grid positions, we have to target big points from both drivers.”