Formula 1 Racing

The story behind Ocon’s Canadian GP Alpine F1 outburst

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524

As a consequence, Ocon was livid and lambasted his team’s decision in the media pen straight after the chequered flag.

“No, it is unexplainable, that one,” he said.

“I’ve always respected the instructions that I’ve been given, as a driver, and I’ve done that once more. I’m the nice guy!

“I’ve done my part of the job – the team hasn’t, honestly. It is not fair, on that race. So, I’m very frustrated with how things have been played out. I guess there are a lot of reasons, so we’ll let the benefit of the doubt go on.”

But while Ocon may have felt that things were unfair on him, details that later emerged showed why Alpine had eventually decided against that final swap back.

How it played out on track

In the last 25 laps of the Montreal race – in which Alpine achieved its first double points finish of the season – Gasly was running in tenth behind Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo but closing rapidly on them.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

However, what was not clear from the outside was that Ocon had been dealing with some energy management issues that were holding back his pace and risked him falling back even more.

Gasly had been hassling tenth-placed Daniel Ricciardo for several laps when Yuki Tsunoda ahead of them spun out of the points and the Australian subsequently overtook Ocon for eighth.

Realising Ocon’s power unit problems would not allow him to get back past Ricciardo, Alpine requested Ocon to let Gasly through on lap 68 of 70.

Without initially explaining its reason why, Ocon was initially resistant and asked the question, to which his race engineer Josh Peckett revealed that the goal was for Gasly to attack Ricciardo.

“Forget it!” Ocon replied, in reference to the pace of the RB.

Peckett insisted, so Ocon asked for assurances that he would be given the place back if Gasly did not manage to overtake the RB.

He eventually gave in: “Okay, I let him by, but make what’s right at the end.”

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Ocon let his team-mate through between Turns 7 and 8 on lap 69, but there wasn’t enough time for Gasly to grab eighth place from Ricciardo.

Towards the end of the final lap, Ocon expected Gasly to slow down and let him back through – but that moment did not come.

Ocon was informed before the last chicane on the final lap: “Esteban, the cars are not swapping places. Push to the end, please.”

It was that call that…

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