Ocon: Drop from Monaco pole felt like 'fall from hell'


Alpine's Esteban Ocon says his drop in the pecking order from a provisional pole position to fourth in the closing stages of qualifying in Monaco equated to a "fall from hell".

In the final minutes of Q3, Ocon produced a stunning flyer out of the blue that propelled the Frenchman to the top of the timesheets.

But at the end of the gripping shootout, Charles Leclerc, Fernando Alonso and finally Max Verstappen all produced better laps than ocon who was left to ponder "what could have been" although he reckoned he had extracted the most from his A523.

"There is a tiny bit of frustration that we are only 188 milliseconds from pole and what could have been," he said.

"If I had got a better exit there, I get a little bit cooler temperatures from the front tyres in the last couple of corners, you never know. But I think it was pretty well maximised.

"I was still on pole when I came in and then I saw the fall of hell, which doesn't feel great. We can be pleased with only being two tenths off the Red Bull."

In Q3, Alpine opted to send Ocon out early to avoid a repeat of his unfortunate qualifying in Miami when he was barred from a final effort due to a red flag.

"We got done exactly in Miami for that," he said. "We left it late, we got done with the red flag for Charles [Leclerc] at the end and we wanted to avoid that.

"We wanted to go earlier with the two sets [of tyres] and that's what we did.

"Unfortunately, there was no red flag for us, but it could well have paid off. It is something we will keep in mind."

Late in the day, the FIA stewards handed Leclerc a three-place grid penalty for hindering McLaren's Lando Norris during Q3.

The sanction means that Ocon will start third on Sunday's grid, just behind Vesrtappen and Alonso.

"Fernando is starting second and I'm pretty sure he is going to take all of the risks to be in the lead after Turn 1," Ocon said. "Hopefully, he creates a mess and that opens the way for us."

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