Esteban Ocon is targeting his first ever podium finish tomorrow as he will start on the second row of the grid. The Frenchman was able to find pace during the session that was badly affected by rain and set the fifth fastest time.
However, as Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will take grid penalties for tomorrow's race, Ocon will climb two spots to occupy third place. Ocon said that a P3 start is what the team deserves, and is going in hunt of his first podium finish in F1.
"It’s amazing," said Ocon. "That’s what the team deserves, they work so hard on every aspect. To get that P3 is something amazing. The car was brilliant today, a perfect balance, and I managed to push it to the limit. Now we have to keep P3 in the race – I want my podium!
"I adjusted the car but it will work in the dry like it did on Friday, so starting from there we have a big opportunity ahead and we need to keep our head down to get it. I've been growing up with the rain and it's fantastic to see that in a Formula 1 car I can still manage to do good stuff. The team have put so much effort to get those results, and now we start third. I will go give them a big hug right now!"
Ocon's teammate Sergio Perez failed to make it into the final part of qualifying, dropping out in Q2. After penalties are applied, it is expected that the Mexican will start tomorrow's race from ninth on the grid.
"It’s been a very long afternoon and I am happy the fans got a good show in the end after waiting in the rain for so long," he said. "The conditions on track were difficult; there was a lot of standing water and the cars were aquaplaning a lot, so I think Charlie [Whiting] did the right thing by postponing the session.
"In Q2, we took the decision to change from wets to inters and I only had two laps to try and make it happen. In the end, I missed out by two thousandths: it’s not ideal, but it was the best we could do today. It was not a perfect lap – I went a bit too wide at Ascari and I got very close to Ricciardo ahead of me, and that compromised me a little. These small margins were enough to miss out on the top ten."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing