BWT Alpine F1 Team faced a busy night of Practice as the much-anticipated Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend began in the Nevada State across Thursday night and Friday morning.
Practice ran into the early hours of Friday morning following a lengthy delay for track repairs with the team itself also forced into making a significant repair job as Esteban Ocon’s A523 was damaged by a loose drain cover on the 6.2km circuit. As such, Free Practice 1 was suspended for safety reasons with Free Practice 2 running for 90 minutes between 02:30 and 04:00 local time.
The team managed to prepare the spare chassis on Car #31 meaning Esteban was able to run in Free Practice 2 where he finished sixteenth on the timesheets. Pierre Gasly completed 33 laps on his way to fifteenth place, as both drivers continue to grow familiar with the circuit layout.
Free Practice 3 begins later today at 20:30 before Qualifying at midnight.
Free Practice 1
Esteban, P5, 1:45.365secs, 5 laps
Pierre, P11, 1:48.253secs, 5 laps
Free Practice 2
Esteban, P16, 1:37.241secs, 37 laps
Pierre, P15, 1:37.134secs, 33 laps
Esteban Ocon: “It’s been a busy night with a lot of emotions to say the least! On one side, it was very cool to drive around the iconic Las Vegas streets for the first time today, and on the other, an unfortunate and premature end to the first practice session. I sustained heavy damage on my car after hitting a loose drain cover on the track during the first laps and, consequently, we had to change the chassis. Huge credit to the team for patching it all up in such a tight timeframe just in time for the delayed second session. Free Practice 2 was straightforward, testing different things and getting to grips with the tyres and track conditions. I enjoy this track and it should make for an exciting Qualifying and Race. Let’s see what we can do later today after a few hours of well-deserved sleep for everyone.”
Pierre Gasly: “That was quite a crazy night in Las Vegas. I don’t think we will ever experience driving a Formula 1 car at 3am in the morning ever again! Firstly, it was good to drive the circuit for the first time and, I must say, it is quite an impressive spectacle with all the lights and iconic sights. It was a pity to lose the time in Free Practice 1, so it was important to maximise the full 90 minutes in Free Practice 2 in order to be prepared for the rest of the weekend. We have learned a lot from that session and it is important now we take the time to run through the data and aim to improve the car ahead of Qualifying.”
Matt Harman, Technical Director: “It has been quite an interesting night here in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, Esteban suffered significant damage to his car in Free Practice 1 after hitting a loose drain cover while returning to the Pit Lane under red flag conditions. The resulting impact caused damage to the front section of floor and the underbody of the chassis. It meant we had to prepare the spare chassis. Credit to the team for the turnaround and having everything ready on time for the delayed Free Practice 2. Every lap is vital at a new circuit and it was important to have both cars running for the full 90 minutes in Free Practice 2, where we also experimented with some items for our A524 challenger. It’s been quite surreal to run a Formula 1 car in the early hours of the morning but I guess that is part of the incredible Las Vegas experience! We have plenty of data to work through ahead of Free Practice 3 later today and we aim to have both cars in a good set-up window for Qualifying.”