Alpine‘s team principal Otmar Szafnauer has been feeling the heat since his CEO Laurent Rossi criticised the team’s ‘amateurish’ performance and mistakes. However, the team had reason to celebrate on Saturday with Esteban Ocon qualifying a surprising fourth in Monaco, while Pierre Gasly took a respectable seventh place. Gasly‘s position was improved by one place after Charles Leclerc was penalised for impeding Lando Norris.
Gasly was positive when asked about the session and said, “A very good day for the team, very positive step forward compared to the first few races and they did a very good job.” However, he was frustrated with his Q3 performance as he locked the rear and slid too much on some of the entries. Gasly recognised that there was still work to be done but mentioned they were making progress.
Gasly said that the car was better in qualifying than it had been earlier in the weekend. “Let’s say there were times in quali where it was better, then slightly got worse depending on the out lap, etcetera. I think what I’m saying is overall we’re closer to the front than we’ve ever been so far this year, and that’s definitely positive. It means we’re getting more from the package we’ve got and that’s the most important. Hopefully we can build up from Miami, this is better and hopefully what we see from us in the coming races will be even better.”
Gasly admitted he didn’t understand why he lost performance in the latter part of qualifying. “Just rear locked. Been struggling the whole weekend with that and fortunately Q2 we managed to get that under control and Q3 was again worse. I don’t really have answers for now but we’ll see. Today we still feel like it wasn’t a perfect job and then we are splitting two Mercedes, so you’ve got to look at it in an objective way and see we are making progress and work from there.”
As for the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix, Gasly recognised the challenges of overtaking on the circuit. However, he mentioned there were still chances around the pitstop strategy and opportunities for unpredictability with safety cars. Gasly expressed optimism for the race and his intent to gain as many points as possible.