Unhappy Ocon blasts Alpine team order: ‘No reason for the call’

© XPB 

Tensions filtered into the Alpine camp once again after Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix, with a very unhappy Esteban Ocon blasting his team’s call to switch its drivers’ positions in the final laps of the race.

Ocon had outpaced teammate Pierre Gasly over the entire course of the 70-lap event.

But just four laps from the checkered flag, the Frenchman succumbed to an attack by RB’s Daniel Ricciardo who seized P8 from the Alpine charger.

The Enstone squad’s pitwall then ordered Ocon to wave Gasly through to allow the latter a chance to hunt down Ricciardo.

A reluctant Ocon eventually complied, although his teammate was predictably unable to overhaul the Aussie.

Despite the double points finish achieved by the Alpine duo, Ocon was anything but happy with how the race had ended, as he expressed in his post-race media duties.

“Obviously we started last and got into the points with both cars which is amazing for the team,” Ocon said. “I did my part of the job, being a team player, being the nice guy – too nice.

“We had to let Pierre go at the end which I’ve done – I’ve always followed the instructions that I’ve been given. But for no reason really, we were not going to catch Daniel – that was the reason for the call.

“Obviously I’m losing a point there. Being too nice is not the right attitude to have in Formula 1 but I showed that I am a team player and that’s what matters.”

When asked if he suspected that events had unfolded the way they did because of his upcoming departure from the team, Ocon responded, “We’ll let the benefit of the doubt.”

After the race, Alpine justified its decision to swap its drivers by invoking an energy management issue on Ocon’s car.

“Towards the end of the race, Esteban had a energy management problem, which impacted his performance,” the team said.

“Early into Lap 68, Esteban was instructed to let Pierre by in order to give Pierre chance to attack Ricciardo for P8.

“The reason being Esteban was losing performance with the suspected PU issue and the team had confidence for Pierre to attack Ricciardo with DRS.

“Esteban then let Pierre by halfway into Lap 69 at Turn 8. By this time was too late, Ricciardo escaped too far ahead for Pierre to put pressure on him, and with Hulkenberg threatening behind, it was too risky to swap back positions.”

Despite his displeasure with Alpine’s order, Ocon was satisfied overall with his afternoon, having launched his race from a lowly P18 to finish tenth.

“Obviously, I started last. We took the right choices at every single point,” he said. “And, you know, I was able to fight a lot of quicker cars as well in that moment.

“And that felt good, obviously, but it’s a little bit bitter end.

“And so, you know, I’m optimistic for the rest of the year that, you know, I can push that car to the maximum. But there is a lot to do, you know, all together with this team.”

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