Ocon hails 'perfect weekend' for Alpine after fifth place finish at Austrian GP
Esteban Ocon crossed the line in fifth place at the Austrian Grand Prix, his highest finishing position of the season. And the delighted Alpine driver believes that he and his team have had “the perfect weekend” after drawing level on points with McLaren in the constructors’ championship.
Ocon started the race in sixth place and made a good start on Sunday, finding himself as high as third in the first stint. And after coming into the pit lane on Lap 15, the Alpine driver had to make his way through the field, pulling off brilliant overtakes on Zhou Guanyu and Yuki Tsunoda in the process.
Ocon had got as high as fourth before being overtaken by first Lewis Hamilton on Lap 30, and George Russell on Lap 60. But, after Carlos Sainz’s retirement, the Alpine driver was able to come home in P5, in what he described as an “awesome” weekend.
“Quiet?!” Ocon joked, when asked if his race had been straightforward. “Not really. Fight with George, fight with Kevin [Magnussen], fight with Lewis [Hamilton] a bit. We had quite a few fights. We did a lot overtakes in between on Zhou, on quite a few drivers coming back through the field.
“It was awesome. It’s a perfect weekend I think for us. There is nothing better that we could have done. Top five, it’s thirteen points in total we score this weekend. We gained a place I think in the constructors’, being fourth at the moment, so it’s a really good one. We are going to France with good confidence!”
Ocon’s team mate Fernando Alonso experienced a slightly more difficult weekend, after an electrical issue forced him to retire from the Sprint during the formation lap. The Spaniard’s car was then fitted with a fresh power unit, and he was forced to start from P19. And when asked if his team mate’s issues had caused him to be nervous, Ocon revealed he had complete faith in his team.
“It’s never great, to have such problems, but… I did trust the team and they fixed the problem – we ran the race with no issues at all – and we were almost going to finish in front of George. It was quite close, and I believed that at one point, but I think we still have a bit of work to do in that regard.”
Alpine are now level on points with McLaren for fourth in the constructors’ championship – and when asked if his team now have the fourth fastest car on the grid, Ocon said: “I think we had this weekend [a faster car than McLaren] clearly.
"There were hopes that we could have fought with George at the time, but after the restart he was too fast so I had to let him go. But it looked like this weekend we were [the fourth fastest team]. Hopefully it will be at all the rest of the circuits."