BWT Alpine F1 Team claimed two points from the season opener in Bahrain with Pierre Gasly climbing from last place to ninth on his debut. Esteban Ocon had an unfortunate race as he was forced to retire 16 laps from the end of the 57-lap race.
Ocon received a five second penalty for a starting grid infringement and a light tap with Lando Norris on Turn 2 of the opening lap caused damage to his left front wing end plate and caused him to pit twice in the opening 15 laps. A further penalty was added for an operational error during the serving of his first penalty before a third infringement for speeding in the pit lane was also added.
Ocon said “Today was not our day. Unfortunately, we made too many operational mistakes and it has cost us today. We need to analyse everything, all the details and learn from those quickly. We’ll take it on the chin together as a team and look forward to the next race where I’m sure we’ll come back stronger.”
Gasly had a much more successful evening after starting twentieth on the grid and making a clean start to gain a couple of places early in the race. He pitted for Hards on lap 9, making him the first car to pit in the race, to focus on pulling into the top ten. A second pit for Hards on lap 25 allowed him to undercut Yuki Tsunoda and put pressure on Alex Albon for the final points.
On his debut for BWT Alpine he said “I’m happy with today’s race and it’s a great way to mark my debut with Alpine. After yesterday’s Qualifying we were all feeling disappointed as that’s not where we aimed to be, so well done to the entire team for their hard work in turning it around for the race. It was always going to be challenging to take points today, but we had confidence in the performance of our race car and we knew we had a chance to score points with a good strategy.”