After taking no points in the final Sprint Race of the season, both BWT Alpine F1 Team drivers took home points in the 71-lap grand prix in São Paulo.
A multi-car incident on the opening lap had the race red flagged but both Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon reacted well and navigated through the ensuing chaos to gin a handful of places. Once the race restarted Gasly gained two places to see him into ninth place whilst Ocon gained one place to sit in tenth.
Ocon took on a three-stop Soft-Medium-Soft-Soft plan whilst Gasly went with a two-stop Soft-Medium-Soft strategy, both drivers ending the race on new Softs. On lap 49, when Gasly had a tyre advantage, Ocon allowed him to pass to chase Lewis Hamilton ahead and he gained the fastest lap of the race so far. He was then able to close the gap on Hamilton and a neat move into Turn 1 to take eighth place and then, eventually, seventh. Ocon made his final stop a few laps afterwards and claimed tenth place after George Russell retired on lap 59.
Reflecting on the race, Ocon said: “Today we had a small reward with one point after a challenging race. We had a great start, gaining some positions while also avoiding the chaos in front. Unfortunately, we saw very quickly that we had very high degradation throughout and had to go for a three-stop race. We had planned for this as we saw some signs yesterday that this could be a factor, so that is something we will assess going forward. Nevertheless, a good day in the office for the team with both cars in the points and a good step since yesterday’s performance in the Sprint Race.”
Gasly added: “I’m very happy with today’s race and I would say it was one of our best performances of the season. It was a very challenging race to manage with multiple stints and pit-stops, but the entire team did a great job today to make the right calls and execute the stops well. For the team, in seventh and tenth, it’s clearly a strong performance, especially after starting from near the back of the grid. We competed with Carlos [Sainz] and the two Mercedes throughout, so that is clearly a good step forwards from yesterday.”
The team now looks ahead to the Las Vegas Grand Prix, the penultimate race of the season, in two weeks’ time.