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Ocon unhappy with Alpine team orders in Canada as he loses out to Gasly

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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 08: 18th placed qualifier Esteban Ocon of France and Alpine F1 looks on in

Esteban Ocon has expressed his disappointment at Alpine’s call for him to let team mate Pierre Gasly pass him in the latter stages of the Canadian Grand Prix, with the former lamenting what he deemed to be a “very sad” situation.

As the race settled down and the damp track continued to dry following the first Safety Car period – triggered by Williams’ Logan Sargeant hitting the barriers – Gasly became the first to take a gamble on slick tyres, having returned to the fray with the hard compound on his A524.

READ MORE: Verstappen beats Norris to victory in thrilling wet/dry Canadian GP

Towards the end of the 70-lap encounter, both Alpine drivers found themselves running in the points, despite both starting from outside the top-10. On Lap 68, Ocon was instructed to let Gasly by in order to give the latter the opportunity to attack RB’s Daniel Ricciardo for P8.

The team later stated that this was owing to an energy management problem on Ocon’s car, while Gasly had looked quick following his earlier switch to the dry tyres. Ocon allowed Gasly through on Lap 69, but by this stage Ricciardo had gained too much of a gap for Gasly to pressure him.

With the Haas of Nico Hulkenberg close on Ocon’s tail, Alpine felt that swapping the positions back would be too high-risk, meaning that Gasly and Ocon crossed the line in P9 and P10 respectively.

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 09: Pierre Gasly of France driving the (10) Alpine F1 A524 Renault in the

Gasly's early switch to the slick tyres saw him record a series of fastest laps

While Ocon was pleased to see the squad secure a double points result, he also labelled the team order as “nonsense”, telling Sky Sports F1 after the race: “I’m happy for the team to be able to score with both cars, but the order should be reversed on that occasion.

“I got the instructions to let Pierre past one and a half lap or two laps to go, to catch Daniel who was two and a half seconds in front and too fast for us, so the call made nonsense. But I’ve done my part of the job, which is being a team player.

HIGHLIGHTS: Relive the action from a dramatic Canadian Grand Prix as Verstappen takes victory ahead of Norris

“I’ve always respected the instruction that I’ve been given, it’s always been the case and I’ve never done anything different in my career. I’ve done my part of the job but not the team today, and it is very sad.”

Pushed on whether he felt that the decision was related to his impending departure from the team – with the announcement being made ahead of the weekend in Montreal that he will leave Alpine at the end of 2024 – Ocon shrugged before adding: “We’ll let the benefit of the doubt.”

Elaborating further in a chat with F1 TV, Ocon stated that he felt he had been “too nice”, adding that he believed “being too nice is not the right attitude to have in Formula 1, but I showed that I’m a team player and that’s what matters”.

‘I was too nice’ – Ocon left unhappy with Alpine team orders in Canada

On whether he has confidence that things will level up at the team going forwards, the Frenchman conceded: “I hope so. We’ll obviously discuss that with the team, but today I’m not the happiest on how things have ended.”

In his own post-race recollections, Gasly voiced his happiness at scoring two points after facing a dramatic start to the race, in which he made contact with the Red Bull of Sergio Perez on the opening lap.

READ MORE: Gasly reflects on his partnership with Ocon as he addresses his own Alpine future

“We had a small touch with Checo and all of a sudden I was facing the wall on the inside, and all the cars [were] passing next to me,” the 28-year-old reflected. “So clearly not the ideal start, almost dropped to last, and then after that I had a decent battle with him, managed to get past him, and then what a race after that.

“Very tricky. [We] had to make some pretty risky calls with the hard tyre, which I saw from the position we were in, if I wanted to recover, I had to take some risks. Looking back, it was a lap too early, but then inside the car I knew if I don’t do it now then it’s probably going to be too late and I won’t get an advantage.

Gasly on Alpine’s double points haul: ‘None of our simulations showed this was possible’

“I felt good, we were competitive on inters, as soon as I had some clear air. We were competitive on the damp, managed to overtake quite a lot of cars and also towards the end of the race on slicks we were competitive.

“So [a] very positive day for the team, we scored with both cars, and this morning none of our simulations were showing that this was possible, so [I’m] very happy for the guys.”

ANALYSIS: What next for Esteban Ocon and Alpine after his exit?

In terms of the call with his team mate, Gasly stated that he hoped the focus would instead be on the fact that the squad had scored their first double-points result of the campaign.

“I think that was some good teamwork at the end,” the French driver said. “The goal as soon as Daniel passed Esteban was to let me past straight away, for me to attack Daniel in the last four laps. It took slightly longer, but honestly it’s no big deal.

“I don’t want this to be a story. I think for the team it was a very, very good day and that should be the main news, that it’s the first time we scored points with both cars.”

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