18 June 2023
BWT Alpine F1 Team extended its points scoring streak to four races as Esteban Ocon finished eighth in the Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montréal. Team-mate Pierre Gasly finished narrowly outside of the points in twelfth place after starting from fifteenth on the grid.
The race began favourably for the team with Esteban rising from sixth to fifth by the end of the opening lap and Pierre climbing two places from fifteenth to thirteenth. Pierre pitted early after finding himself stuck in traffic before a Safety Car two laps later prevented any hopes of leapfrogging cars ahead.
Esteban pitted under the Safety Car from fourth place, which benefitted the one-stop runners, notably both Ferraris and Sergio Perez in the Red Bull. From there, both drivers held position – Pierre pitting on lap 34 and Esteban lap 37 for Hards. Esteban was unable to pass Williams’ Alex Albon who was on a bold one-stop with Pierre narrowly short of the points at the chequered flag after pressuring a number of cars in front.
Esteban started on New Mediums (L12 pit-stop for New Hards, L37 pit-stop for New Hards); Fastest Lap: 1:16.782
Pierre started on New Softs (L10 pit-stop for New Hards, L34 pit-stop for New Hards); Fastest Lap: 1:16.425
Esteban Ocon, started P6, finished P8: “I think we can be satisfied with finishing another race in the points but we know that perhaps we did not maximise our opportunities today in Montréal. Our car and our pace was strong but, in the end, it was not enough to pass Alex [Albon] in the Williams, who was quicker on the straights. We’ll review everything as a team as to how we can improve and also how we can better seize opportunities on Sundays. Our pace in Qualifying has been good and we must continue that. I did enjoy the battles with Valtteri [Bottas] and Lando [Norris]; that was good fun! Overall, we have a lot to learn after a challenging weekend and I’m already looking forward to Austria in two weeks’ time.”
Pierre Gasly, started P15, finished P12: “Unfortunately, we were unable to come away with points from today’s race. It again shows the importance of track position and I think our weekend was damaged by what happened in Qualifying yesterday by exiting in Q1. We had very good pace in the car today, which we were not able to demonstrate further up the grid and in the positions that matter. We were a little unfortunate with the timing of the first Safety Car but even so, we had a decent race in terms of pace. I gave it my all at the end, overtaking was difficult, and we couldn’t quite put ourselves into the points. I’m already looking ahead to Austria where we must be on it from the start of the weekend and come away with points both in the Sprint and in the main Race.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal: “It’s not been a straightforward afternoon with Esteban in the points and Pierre unfortunately missing out. I think we have many things to learn from the race as we saw both Ferraris, Sergio [Perez] and Alex [Albon] make the one-stop strategy work, whereas we planned a one-stop but converted to a two-stop on both cars, which probably was not the optimal approach given the final outcome. That’s something we’ll review to see what we can do better going forward. Esteban did a good job, especially at the start of the race where he was running as high as fourth behind the leading pack. It was a much more difficult afternoon for Pierre who was unfortunate with the timing of the first Safety Car as he pitted early to try and jump the traffic ahead. Again, like in Spain, it highlights the importance of Qualifying and benefitting from track position. His weekend was compounded by yesterday’s impeding incident and it meant he was always going to play catch-up in the race. Looking forward, we’ve made it four consecutive races in the points and we must capitalise on our stronger race pace by converting that performance level into bigger points. Next up is the Austrian Sprint weekend where we must come away with a better outcome from both races.”