RACE DEBRIEF

    Esteban Ocon’s Bahrain Grand Prix didn’t go quite as planned; the Frenchman finished 13th after a subsequently apologetic Sebastian Vettel collided with him at Turn 1 on Lap 45 of the race – but the Alpine driver still had positives to take from the race.

    Ocon was ahead of Vettel going into the braking zone of the sharp Turn 1 right-hander when Vettel locked up the tyres on his Aston Martin, careering into the blue Alpine and sending the pair spinning. Vettel received a 10-second penalty and points on his licence for the accident, with Ocon revealing that the four-time champion apologised to him after the race.

    READ MORE: Vettel says he ‘couldn’t avoid’ Ocon as he apologises for hitting Frenchman

    “Obviously with Seb it didn’t end up well. We were out of the points. Seb came and apologised – it can happen,” Ocon said. “He apologised, we all make mistakes, and that happens sometimes.

    “We really showed a good fighting spirit this race. Most of the race we were fighting. There was a lot of wheel-to-wheel fights with Yuki [Tsunoda], with Antonio [Giovinazzi], with Seb…”

    2021 Bahrain Grand Prix: Vettel crashes into the back of Ocon

    Ocon conceded that even without the Vettel incident he may well have missed out on points, because he qualified a lowly 16th on Saturday, after being eliminated in Q1.

    “It’s a shame that we didn’t get the result that we wanted in this race, but this qualifying penalised us. Otherwise, we were on for points in this race, for sure,” he admitted.

    “I think if we get everything right we should get into the points but yeah, I mean today we fought hard; it was not enough from where we started but yeah, without the incident we would have come just one or two positions from the points,” he added.

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    Not the ideal first race for Alpine in Bahrain as midfield rivals Ferrari took 12 points and McLaren 18

    Although veteran team mate Fernando Alonso qualified ninth in the race, he ended up retiring late on with debris in his brakes, leaving Alpine without a point from the season opener as midfield rivals McLaren, Ferrari, AlphaTauri and Aston Martin all scored.

    READ MORE: Tsunoda describes ‘emotional’ pass on hero Alonso – and what he learned from shadowing him

    “We move onto the next race as a team, aiming to get back to scoring points,” concluded Ocon.

    Alpine hope to get off the mark as they head to Imola next for round two of the season. Alonso, of course, returns to the site of his sensational 2005 victory in which he fended off seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher at the San Marino Grand Prix.