Gasly expected Q1 knock out – Ocon expected better

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Alpine's drivers were somewhat at odds with each other regarding Alpine's prospects for qualifying at Monza on Saturday, but Pierre Gasly was ultimately unsurprised by the team's double knockout in Q1.

Gasly headed into his Italian Grand Prix weekend on the back of a remarkable podium achieved in last weekend's Dutch Grand Prix.

But the Frenchman was reminded early on that past results are no indication of future performance. In Saturday's final practice, Ocon and Gasly concluded their session a lowly P18 and P20 respectively, a result that was a sign of things to come for qualifying.

"Unfortunately, all weekend I was quite happy with the car balance, but we've just been two seconds off the pace the whole time," noted Gasly who clocked in P17 in Q1, just one spot ahead of Ocon.

"We knew coming here in Monza it would be the toughest weekend of the year with all these long straights. And yeah, it's clearly been the case.

"So we expected to be out in Q1. But you always have optimism that maybe with a hard tyre or something, you could get through, but that's all we had, unfortunately. And, yeah, a difficult weekend so far."

Gasly admitted that the hard tyre imposed in Q1 by F1's Alternative Tyre Allocation did little to help the balance of Alpine's A523 in the session.

"I think the hard tyre is probably the worst, I felt, of all," he said. "I was really happy with the car on soft, pretty happy on medium, and with the hard, through corner balance has been just worse, and not going in the right direction for our car.

"Ultimately, you look at GPS, and it's very clear on where we're losing and yeah, we knew that we maximised everything we could, but the package doesn't suit the layout.

"We came here knowing our weaknesses, we knew that they would be amplified here. [They were] clearly identified straightaway from FP1, [we tried] to react and maximize the package that we've got, but you know, [it's] still not enough.

"As difficult as it can be to take it [on] the chin, you've got to look at it objectively. And it's got to give us direction for next season, in the way that we want to approach this sort of very particular track."

While not exactly shell-shocked by Alpine's inability to make it to the next level in qualifying, Ocon was nevertheless more surprised than his teammate by the Enstone squad's underperformance.

His own efforts in Q1 were also impacted by a clash with McLaren's Lando Norris and an off-tack excursion that damaged his car's floor.

"I felt that at least probably we could get into Q2, and fight for top of Q2," Ocon said. "But today there were a lot of cars that were quicker than us. That's the reality.

"It was a tricky session for us, not the result that we wanted, both cars exiting in Q1. We seem to be performing less good than [on] the other tracks.

"We are still digging into why those problems are coming to us here. And I'm sure we'll find answers.

"But today was not good enough, and I tried to push the car a lot in run one, and picked up a bit of floor damage for run two, which wasn't ideal.

"But all in all, 0.003s from one car to another. So I think we pretty much maximised the potential today, and it is unfortunate that we are not quick enough."

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