After a rather difficult beginning of the season, scoring no points in Bahrain and only three at Imola, Alpine has constantly been improving, and the double points finish in P7 and P8 during the last Portuguese GP, obtained respectively by Ocon and Alonso, has definitely shown an improvement in the form of the team.
The French driver, in particular, this weekend has proved to be again up to speed, ending the FP2 session in P4, and, most important, getting the fifth best time during the qualifying session, only losing out on the fourth spot in the end to Charles Leclerc.
“This is the confirmation that we needed to have,” Esteban Ocon said in an interview at the end of the session. “Coming here, everybody knows the track by heart, all the teams are fast.
He was extremely pleased with his performance, as it shows that the pace shown in Portimao wasn't a one-off: "Coming after Portimao, we had a quick car, but we were not sure it was going to work here, and the car’s been great all quali, so I’m very pleased with the work that we’ve done."
He also thanked his team for the effort they put in to improve the performance of the car: "It’s been very solid and I feel great at the wheel, with the team that I have around me and back at the factory as well. Everyone was not satisfied that we were so far back [at the start of the year] and they’ve been working so hard and it has all paid off.
Talking about tomorrow's race, he said he's glad to be able to fight with the other teams, especially with Ferrari: "Let's see, but I think Charles was fast in race pace on Friday, that’s for sure. A bit gutted that he pipped me in the end [in qualifying], but it’s good to see that we can split them, we can fight with those [teams]."
"It’s going to be a fun race tomorrow starting from where we are, so we’ll give it everything,” he concluded.