Ocon “pretty frustrated” as “it was definitely great” until Q3

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Frustration was the word for Esteban Ocon post-qualifying as the Frenchman missed out on opportunity to seal a potential second or third row start for the Miami Grand Prix later today. Instead, he will start in P8 between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen.

Photo credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team

The 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix winner was P5 in final practice, and he looked really good in qualifying as well as he placed P6 in Q2. Ocon was only behind the Red Bulls, Ferraris and Alonso in that session.

“It was good until Q3, it was definitely great,” said Ocon. “We maximised the car pace and we bounced back compared to Baku basically.

“It felt really good, the car was competitive, the car was fast. On merit we were P6 in Q2, and I was going to put a better lap in Q3. I knew I had it in hand and I knew I could have gone into the top 5 on merit.”

However, his Q3 was far from ideal. A difficult lap on a scrubbed set of softs saw him P8, slowest of the drivers who had set a time until that point. It was 0.491s off his Q2 benchmark.

The red flag for Leclerc’s crash dashed his hopes of getting into a grid position he feels was possible on merit.

“Unfortunately Q3 was meaningless, a lap on the used set which wasn’t good. I did have a lot of slides on that set in the previous use of it,” stated Ocon.

“I was already up by two tenths on two corners in Q3. I knew there was a lot in hand but I couldn’t show it today.”

The good news for Ocon is that he has a car to properly fight with this weekend for points after the nightmare of Baku.

Nonetheless, he understandably saw qualifying as a missed opportunity.

“We did everything we needed this weekend to do. The car was competitive, the car felt good,” he added.

“But it is a missed opportunity again on my side. I’m pretty frustrated right now but there is a race tomorrow.

“I’m sure we can convert that quali pace to the race pace tomorrow.”