Ocon repaid Alonso for Hungary by costing Perez ‘up to three seconds’ in pursuit

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In the round-up: Esteban Ocon may have played a decisive role in helping his team mate Fernando Alonso end a seven-year wait for a podium finish.

In brief

Ocon held up Perez to repay Alonso Budapest performance

After Alonso helped his team mate to his first F1 victory at the Hungaroring by delaying Lewis Hamilton, Ocon tried to repay the favour in the Qatar Grand Prix. Alonso, en route to third place, was being chased by Sergio Perez.

“I tried to give back a little bit what Fernando gave me, from Budapest,” said Ocon. “I slowed down a good two and a half three seconds Sergio in that lap so I was hoping that was going to be enough.”

A Virtual Safety Car period also delayed Perez’s progress. He took the chequered flag 2.8 seconds behind Alonso.

Ocon said he was happy with his and the team’s performance, “for me, from ninth to fifth is also a fantastic result. Very pleased with our race, our pace. We take 25 points out of AlphaTauri, what a day.

Alonso: Alpine’s kindness on tyres key to one-stop viability

Alonso, the highest finisher to pit just once during the race, said he believes the Alpine car is able to make Pirelli tyres last longer than others.

He and team mate Ocon have performed some impressive stints over the 2021 season, including Alonso’s drive in Budapest and Ocon completing the entire Turkish Grand Prix on a single set of intermediate tyres.

“It seems that our car is kind on tyres,” said Alonso following a race in which several other drivers suffered sudden punctures.

“We did a one-stop also in Brazil last week and today I think we had some margin to keep pushing a little bit more, but you never know, and Checo was coming quite fast at the end.”

Tear-off ruined Tsunoda’s first stint

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Losail International Circuit, 2021
Tsunoda’s lap times improved when the tear-off was removed
Yuki Tsunoda said his Qatar grand prix was ruined by being “just too slow in the first stint”. The AlphaTauri driver started on the soft tyre and “just really struggled a lot.”

He referred to “an issue in the background” during the stint that was “not just the tyre, but I can’t say at the moment I know what is this problem.”

During the race AlphaTauri told Tsunoda a visor tear-off that had become stuck in his rear wing, costing him around 50 points of downforce. It was removed at his first pit stop.

“The second stint the pace came back but the first stint and the most important thing, the start, you have to survive the first stint and I couldn’t,” Tsunoda continued. “I lost a good opportunity in the first stint. That was the issue and after that the pace was okay.”

Ricciardo: Qatar “a big one” in difficult triple header

Daniel Ricciardo said the Mexico, Brazil and Qatar triple-header had “not been nice” after failing to score in all three races.

The McLaren driver is hopeful of an improvement in the coming race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. “I’m going to get on the sim Wednesday and, on paper, Saudi looks alright. I’m looking forward to getting on a new track again.

“I definitely feel like there was moments today where when I could push, the pace was okay I think at times. But let’s move on.”

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Comment of the day

Amidst the drama of the title rivals, PT celebrated Fernando Alonso’s podium as an incredibly impressive comeback. Just this time last year, Alonso was preparing to be part of the Alpine’s young driver test…

I was waiting so long to see the sight of Alonso on an F1 podium. There were times this year when I didn’t have much hope for him. His pre-season preparations were heavily compromised by the bicycle accident.

He didn’t have proper pre-season testing, and in the first five or six races he was out-performed by Ocon hands down. I was really worried whether that was it.

What a bounce back he had since Baku! After so many years away from the sport (but winning nevertheless), he’s back to write a new glorious chapter which, I’ve always believed, would be his greatest.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Clare Msj, Dane, Rachel and Richard!

On this day in motorsport

  • 30 years ago today Ferrari signed Ivan Capelli for the upcoming season. It remains the most recent occasion the Italian team have started a season with an Italian driver

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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  • 19 comments on “Ocon repaid Alonso for Hungary by costing Perez ‘up to three seconds’ in pursuit”

    1. After the stories over the years, I thought Fernando would go to Alpine and the working relationship between him and Estaban would sour very quickly but it seems to be the opposite, seemingly one of the most harmonious team mates on the grid. Of course it would be different if they were fighting each other for a championship but thought it was an interesting observation

      1. @djarvis agree with the bromance going on between them. Hopefully it lasts as good to see for a change and helping them as a team massively. I guess if they were fighting for the championship it’d be a different story. Perhaps Fernando is being a father figure as well rather than all those years trying to get one over on his team mates.

    2. That’s nice to see the situation reversed, with ocon slowing down someone so alonso could get a good result ofc.

    3. Is Father time a theme for this sport? Note: Vettel, Alonso and Raikkonen have the most overtakes in the season. I wish there was a table showing the entire grid’s tally. Dang, it feels a bit sad as a I write this really…

    4. When Alonso last took a podium Hamilton was 3rd and Daniel won, Bottas and raikkonen also featured in that race.

    5. Tear off ruining races is the most silliest thing. Why isn’t there any provision or drivers to leave the tear-off in the cockpit? Why is it necessary to let it out flying in the air?

      1. It is a bit of an own goal for a sport trying to improve its green credentials, that it requires the drivers to throw away multiple pieces of plastic in order to be able to see.

      2. The drivers are responsible for this, I am afraid.

        In early 2016, Charlie Whiting proposed that drivers to not be allowed to dispose off tear-offs outside the cockpit. The ban was to come into force from the 2016 Monaco GP. However, in the drivers’ briefing, the proposal was not accepted by drivers as they felt it would be a safety issue if they had to dispose it inside the cockpit while driving in the narrow confines of Monaco.

        And, it was never brought up again.

    6. In the post race interviews on F1TV Daniel Ricciardo mentioned the team must have made a mistake in their fuel calculations (on his car?) since he was asked to save fuel from the 2nd lap onwards until sometime after half distance. I would really be curious to learn more about what happened there, but it does explain why he never even started to make progress.

      1. @bascb This is news to me as no radio comm about fuel saving during the race got broadcasted, nor was his fuel-saving necessarily obvious even in his lap times. An interesting post-race note anyway.

        1. Yeah, it surprised my as well @jerejj.

      2. That was interesting. A costly mistake by McLaren who don’t seem to slip up too much these days. Maybe the team members are running on fumes with such a compressed schedule and lots of travel?

    7. That’s a bit optimistic of Ocon.
      On the overtake lap Perez was only 0.2s slower than the lap before.
      And on the previous lap Perez was approaching so fast he did not lose time either; actually gained due to DRS at the right moment.

      At 2.5-3s faster he would’ve set the faster lap by far until then ;)

      1. someone or something
        22nd November 2021, 11:34

        Yeah, his impression isn’t quite backed by the facts.
        He was a bit unlucky in that Pérez arrived with just the right timing to get a good tow with DRS on top, without getting held up in the twisty bits. Short of trying to stall Pérez in the middle of the lap by slowing down massively in the corners, there wasn’t much Ocon could do. The way he fought back and almost regained the position made for good entertainment, and it proved that he was really trying to help Alonso, so good on him. But he had nowhere near the impact on Pérez’s progress he thought he had.

    8. Phillip Horton’s tweet is interesting.

      Another good COTD.

    9. tell Esteban to fight like a lion

      1. He did for a few corners

    10. Happy for Alonso as its good to see him back up on the podium again!

    11. How on earth are sausage kerbs still on racetracks?!

    Comments are closed.