“It’s a huge amount of work to get to that moment,” he said. “Very pleased to build the weekend the way we did. We had a tricky car to drive in Q1, but we knew the track was gonna improve, we knew the pace was gonna get better. And finally, to let it all go in the last lap it felt great.
“I had a very, very big shunt with the wall in that lap, but it made me gain some time so happy days; the car was solid enough and we made it round.”
Charles Leclerc’s three-place grid drop for blocking Lando Norris late in the final stage means Ocon will be promoted one place to third on the grid, behind ex-team-mate Fernando Alonso and former Formula 3 title rival Max Verstappen.
But prior to the news that the Ferrari driver had been penalised, Ocon wanted to savour the moment that secured the Enstone outfit’s highest grid slot in Monaco since 2013.
“Already let me digest what happened today, the team also needs to digest it. They are going to be happy with having an early curfew tonight, hopefully the car isn’t too bent,” he joked.
“It’s a hell of a moment for everyone and I’m pleased already that we are fourth and let’s see what we can do tomorrow. Good start and hopefully some fighting in front.”
Ocon’s qualifying exploits came at the right time for an Alpine side who have been left reeling by stinging comments from CEO Laurent Rossi about the team’s poor performance early in 2023.
Amid Aston Martin’s emergence as a front-running force to sit second in the standings, Alpine has only scored 14 points across the opening five races of the season.
With Pierre Gasly in the sister car also making an appearance in Q3 in Monte Carlo, wounding up seventh overall, the Anglo-French entry is well placed to add vital points to its Constructors’ tally.
Asked if it provided an important boost for the team after its unspectacular start to the year, Ocon responded: “For sure, and it proves the hard work, it proves that we don’t give up, and it proves that around here where it’s a tough circuit, where you have to hustle the car, I can be there, so I’m happy.