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Ocon: F1 set-up direction to blame for not matching Alonso in Australia

Esteban Ocon says a set-up change contributed to the delta in qualifying performance compared to his Alpine Formula 1 teammate Fernando Alonso in Australia.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A522

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

Alonso was very competitive in qualifying on Saturday, taking fifth in both Q1 and Q2 and putting in two sectors that suggested he was in the fight for pole in Q3 before an oil pressure fail-safe mode cut his Renault engine and sent him off the road.

Ocon, meanwhile, was 11th in Q1, 10th in Q2 and eighth in Q3, boosted by Alonso's lack of a lap time and issues for Carlos Sainz.

In Sunday's race he finished seventh.

"I think I have mixed emotions about this weekend," he said when asked by Motorsport.com about his performance. "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 race out of three in the points.

"It was all about yesterday's 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 yesterday as a team pace clearly. Sector two was competitive, and sector three we were lacking the most as a team.

"We took a decision from Friday night to steer our car in a different way. 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 if he could elaborate on the differences between the cars, he said: "No. We are too close to the front to give anything away!"

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At one stage in the race Ocon was asked to cool his car, but that was the result of him running in traffic rather than an issue with the power unit.

"We were 25-30 laps in DRS, which is a bit extreme," he said. "It is normal that I would have to back off at some point and anyway Alex [Albon] was very fast, so there was no real intention for me to dive in and lose more time. I think it was okay the way we were."

Regarding his 2022 form, he added: "It is very encouraging. 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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