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Ocon to take five-place grid drop at Canadian GP after dramatic first-lap clash with team mate Gasly in Monaco

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MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 23: Esteban Ocon of France and Alpine F1 attends the Drivers Press

Esteban Ocon will be hit with a five-place grid drop at the Canadian Grand Prix, following the conversion of a time penalty he received for clashing with Alpine team mate Pierre Gasly in Monaco.

Ocon and Gasly came to blows during an incident-packed start to Sunday’s race in the Principality, with the former attempting a move on the latter – who had starred en route to a Q3 spot in qualifying – as they rounded the Portier corner.

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But Ocon’s bold inside lunge turned into disaster when he mounted Gasly’s car, briefly went airborne and then came crashing back down onto the tarmac, leaving both cars with damage.

“What did he do?! What did he do?!” Gasly exclaimed over the radio after the clash. “Why did he try to attack? Oh my gosh. The whole car is damaged now!”

After looking into the incident – which added to early clashes between Carlos Sainz and Oscar Piastri, and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and the two Haas drivers – the stewards determined that Ocon was at fault and handed him a 10-second sanction.

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“It was clear to us that the collision was caused solely by the overly ambitious overtaking attempt, from too far back, by Car 31 [Ocon], and was therefore wholly to blame for the incident,” read the stewards’ verdict.

However, with Ocon retiring from proceedings due to the damage sustained, the penalty would have had no impact on the Frenchman’s day, meaning it has been turned into a five-place grid drop for the next round of the season in Canada.

Speaking to media when he returned to the paddock, Ocon said: “I’m okay. It was a hard launch in the air and a hard landing, but I’ve had worse days on that side of things. I think on that side of things I’m okay.

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“Obviously it’s an unfortunate incident to retire early in the race… a tough one. We tried to basically put the car back in the garage, so we pulled out of the fast lane to try and repair what we could repair.

“Unfortunately, we discovered too much damage sustained [to continue]. A chaotic first lap… I hope that the team can score some points today.”

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