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Alpine drivers Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly

Alpine drivers expected more at ‘lonely’ Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

While Esteban Ocon scored his first points of the 2023 season in Jeddah, Pierre Gasly has finished in the points on both occasions he has raced for Alpine. Both drivers outscored their teammates in 2022, who will end up on top at the end of the year?

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Both Alpine drivers feel “positive” about their Saudi Arabian Grand Prix results, but are left wanting “more”

Esteban Ocon led Pierre Gasly at the end of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
Esteban Ocon led Pierre Gasly at the end of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. (Image Credit: @AlpineF1Team on Twitter)

With only one car finishing the Bahrain Grand Prix, the French team would have hoped to get their season back on track in Saudi Arabia. And that’s exactly what happened with both Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly finishing in the points in Jeddah. Ocon came home in P8 with his teammate just behind him in P9.

After finishing best of the rest at the end of the 2022 season, Alpine would have hoped to move closer to the top three teams this year. However, the Enstone-based team has been left puzzled since the start of the season, unsure of where their pace has gone. But the team promised to bounce back after a difficult time in Bahrain, both during pre-season testing and the race.

And Alpine did bounce back with a double points finish in Jeddah. Both of the French team’s drivers have reflexed on their positive experiences at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Ocon remains realistic about Alpine’s pace against the rest of the grid

The more experienced driver at the French team, Ocon, reflected on his “lonely” race with the Formula One press. He said that P8 was:

“The maximum we could have done today, really. We were not fast enough to be able to hold on to the Ferraris in front. We thought we could at the moment, but they pulled away. From there, we managed the pace and tried to bring the cars back home, and that’s what we did.”

However, the French driver was “happy,” both with the “double-points finish,” and also to “finally start my season in a no-issue way.”

Ocon is also relishing the prospect of the “big development race,” that he suspects will happen throughout the season. He wouldn’t be pressed on placing Alpine on a hierarchy against the other teams on the grid. Instead, he said, “we need to focus” on the development battle, which will help his team catch the others.

Gasly expected Alpine to be closer to the cars ahead but remains positive

For the second consecutive race this season, Gasly finished in P9. Reflecting on his race, the French driver said:

“I think overall, there is definitely some positives from the race. Second race with the team, second time in the points, so we will take that.”

He continued, “on the other hand, I expected us to be slightly closer to the guys ahead. We were in sort of in no-man’s-land behind the Ferraris and in front of the guy in P10 behind us.”

We cannot forget that Gasly only joined Alpine at the beginning of the season. He will still need time to adjust to his new car and team. Whilst talking to the press, he said, “there was times in the weekend where I felt a bit better with the car, some other times where I struggled a bit more.” Perhaps hinting that he is still trying to find the perfect set-up with his car.

Similar to how Ocon is focusing on the development battle, Gasly also insists that “we definitely want more, so we have to work.”

What is possible for the French team in 2023?

Feature Image Credit: @AlpineF1Team on Twitter

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