Pierre Gasly says he and Alpine has to understand why he felt ill-at ease with the A523 after he slumped to last spot during qualifying in Bahrain.
Gasly was eliminated in the first knockout session and his best effort, which was already quick enough for only 17th on the grid, was deleted due to a track limits infringement.
That left Gasly at the rear of the 20-car grid for Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix, his first race for Alpine, having switched from AlphaTauri over the winter.
“Clearly, this is not the start to the season we wanted being knocked out in Q1,” he said.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t quite feel at one with the car today and that meant we were way below where our true level is.
“There’s a lot of work ahead of us to continue our understanding of the car and I’m confident we will come back stronger for our next qualifying session.”
Team-mate Esteban Ocon fared better and will line up from ninth place.
“It felt good to be out there and finally really pushing the car to see what it can do and where we stand,” said Ocon.
“Getting through to Q3 is definitely a good way to start the season. We are happy with the progress we have made since the pre-season test, and this is the best the car has felt on track so far this year.
“Our competitors in front are quick, and we have plenty of work ahead of us, but we’ve got a car that can get into the points and that will be the goal for the first race of the season.”