Esteban Ocon blames set-up after trailing Fernando Alonso in Melbourne

Esteban Ocon says taking a different route with his set-up was the reason for the speed differential between himself and Fernando Alonso in qualifying for the Australian GP.

The Frenchman, though, wouldn’t go into detail.

Such was Alonso’s pace around the Albert Park circuit on Saturday afternoon that the Spaniard believed he could have challenged for pole position had he not crashed.

A hydraulic issue, the result of a faulty part that costs all of £1.50, meant the double World Champion lined up P10 while Ocon qualified eighth.

But despite being ahead of his team-mate on the grid, he trailed Alonso through both Q1 and Q2, four-tenths and then three-tenths off the pace.

Ocon says that was because he’d gone with a different set-up to the Spaniard.

“We took a decision from Friday night to steer our car in a different way,” he told Motorsport.com.

“Obviously it was to try and steer the development more in one direction, and it didn’t really pay off for us.

“But on not such a good weekend to finish P7 and to score six points is pretty decent.”

Asked to explain the differences between his and Alonso’s car, he replied: “No. We are too close to the front to give anything away!”

Overall the Frenchman says he has “mixed emotions” about the weekend.

P7 in Melbourne. More good points but mixed emotions about our weekend as a team. So head down and let’s keep pushing, together. Thank you and peace out Straya ✌️ #AusGP pic.twitter.com/Dxc6IYneLz

— Esteban Ocon (@OconEsteban) April 10, 2022

Ocon finished the grand prix in seventh place, his third points-scoring result of the season, to move up to seventh place in the Drivers’ Championship.

He added: “There was probably a bit more we could have done this weekend with how the car was performing in general for the team, so to finish P7 is good, it is three races out of three in the points.

“It was all about qualifying, and probably a top five in qualifying would have been a top five in the race as well.

“I have mixed feelings on that side, but it is very good knowledge because we can steer the development [away from] maybe the wrong decision that we took this weekend.

“There was a top five in our car as a team pace clearly. Sector two was competitive, and sector three we were lacking the most as a team.”

 

So far he’s happy with how his own 2022 season is progressing.

“It is very encouraging,” he said. “Three races, three times in the points P7, P6, P7 is good for sure, 20 points after three races is very solid.

“I’m happy with that but I’m hungry for more.”

 

 

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