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‘We are fighters’ – Ocon says Alpine won’t give up on ‘ambitious’ targets after mixed start to 2023 season

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Esteban Ocon has praised Alpine for getting their season on track after a difficult opening sequence of races, having gone from the low of back-to-back point-less weekends to the high of a podium finish.

Alpine started the campaign looking to build on their fourth place finish in last year’s constructors’ standings and knock on the door of the top-three group, but the Bahrain opener yielded just two points for the team and a trio of penalties for Ocon.

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After getting both cars into the points in Saudi Arabia, the following round in Australia saw a dramatic coming together between Ocon and team mate Pierre Gasly, while another incident-packed weekend in Azerbaijan also ended without any points.

However, following public comments from Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi that took aim at “too many mistakes” and “poor performance”, the operation have turned their season around, logging double points finishes at the last three races.

That included a breakthrough podium for Ocon at the Monaco Grand Prix – Alpine’s first since the tail-end of the 2021 season – as they showed the first signs of mixing it with the likes of Red Bull, Mercedes, Aston Martin and Ferrari.

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Alpine are looking to join the fight at the front of the field as the season progresses

Reflecting on the rollercoaster first seven races, Ocon said: “We can be proud of how the team has bounced back following a difficult start to the season, which we know was below our expectations.

“We have scored double points at each of the last three races and achieved a deserved podium as well. The team has been working flat-out to deliver these results so all credit to them, both at the factories and at the track.”

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He added: “We know, however, we are not at the level of our competitors in front so that is something we are addressing as we still want to achieve the ambitious targets that we have set ourselves at the beginning of the year.

“We are fighters and we believe we can challenge our competitors on the track like we’ve shown already at races this season. Every race is an opportunity for this, and we are glad we can have another go this weekend in Montreal.”

Alpine sit fifth in the constructors’ standings heading to the Canadian Grand Prix, 60 points away from fourth-placed Ferrari and 23 clear of sixth-placed McLaren.

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