Ocon exulted after Alonso overtake, gutted after gearbox bust

© XPB 

Esteban Ocon rejoiced after his overtake on Fernando Alonso opened the prospect of a solid bag of points in the Singapore Grand Prix, but it all ended in tears just a few laps later for the Alpine driver.

After running a consistent seventh in the first part of the race at Marina Bay, Ocon fell to ninth after his pit stop on lap 20 during the safety car period.

From the beginning the Frenchman had been running on the tail of Alonso's Aston Martin , but by lap 36 a three-way scrap had developed between Red Bull's Sergio Perez, Alonso and Ocon.

For several corners the trio fought wheel-to-wheel, Ocon had pulled up alongside Alonso several times but on the exit of Turn 9, the Alpine charger made it stick against his former teammate.

Pressing on, Ocon then dispatched Perez as the Mexican struggled with his tyres before inheriting sixth when Max Verstappen undertook his pit stop.

It was a fitting outcome that rewarded his fighting spirit on the day of his 27th birthday.

"It felt as good as taking sixth place," said Ocon, commenting on his move on Alonso. "It was quite nice.

"Early in the race I saw that I was quite comfortably following him, much more than the other races where we were quite close on track.

"His rear-end was quite loose, mine was quite stable, and I knew that at some point my time would come, because there was a lot of fighting.

"Max was off, Sergio was quite slow ahead and I was seeing him growing impatient and at some point obviously tried to go, and that opens the door for me to go alongside and then to pass also Checo."

But Ocon's joy was short-lived and turned into utter misery when a gearbox failure on his A523 saw him grind to a halt at the entry of the Marina Bay pitlane.

"I am gutted to end the race this way," he lamented. "We were performing well and showed some good pace today.

"The team were making all the right calls and we were able to have some fun on track with some overtakes throughout the race.

"We need to investigate closely to understand what happened and to ensure it does not happen again."

Ocon felt that his and his team's efforts deserved a better fate.

"We deserved more today but we can be proud of our performance all weekend," he said.

"It’s certainly not the way I wanted to end my birthday, but we have a chance to bounce back next week at my favourite track of the season and we’ll continue to work together as a team to make sure we come away with a strong result in Suzuka."

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