How Ocon pulled off his Hakkinen-style Spa F1 double overtake

Esteban Ocon channelled his inner Mika Hakkinen by completing a brilliant double pass along the Kemmel Straight at Spa, drawing comparisons to the two-time Formula 1 champion's move in 2000.

How Ocon pulled off his Hakkinen-style Spa F1 double overtake

Ocon charged from 16th on the grid to finish seventh for Alpine in the Belgian Grand Prix, calling the performance "our best weekend of the year so far, and probably since I joined the team".

The key to Ocon's charge up the order was the Alpine car's impressive straightline speed, which also allowed Fernando Alonso to fight high up the order in the opening stages and eventually finish fifth.

Ocon managed two double passes during his rise up the field, the first coming on lap 15 when he overtook Daniel Ricciardo and Nicholas Latifi under braking into the Bus Stop chicane.

But the second was the one that really got the paddock talking as Ocon swept past Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly at the end of the Kemmel Straight.

With Vettel sat in the middle of the track as Gasly and Ocon went either side, it drew comparisons to when Hakkinen overtook Michael Schumacher in similar fashion at Spa in 2000, using lapped backmarker Ricardo Zonta in the middle of the track as a decoy.

 

Ocon began to plot the move coming out of La Source, noting that Vettel was overtaking Gasly too early and would be without DRS for the long straight.

He then used the tactic of a little lift on the run to Eau Rouge to open the gap a bit, meaning he could maximise the slingshot effect at the top of the hill exiting Raidillon before sweeping past both cars.

"I was like, the detection is there and he's passing Pierre too early, because he's not going to get the DRS!" Ocon explained.

"From there on, I lifted the throttle a bit, got myself a little bit of a gap to be able to use the straightline speed. And then the surprise and confirmation was that Pierre had DRS.

"I was able to go on the left side. Seb was very fair, he could have closed a bit on the left but he didn't do, and I managed to get Pierre around the outside of Turn 5."

Vettel said he was "fighting without weapons" given the lack of DRS, leaving him powerless to try and stop Ocon coming through.

Ocon laughed when he was asked if he had been watching any of Hakkinen's videos recently, but revealed he had in fact spoken to the McLaren F1 great ahead of the race.

 

"Mika came and talked to me before the race as well in the paddock! It's a good coincidence," said Ocon, who realised the similarity of the moves after the race.

"It was definitely good fun. I've enjoyed the racing today, the car was extremely fast in a straight line, so I was managing the timing right about when to overtake.

"From where we started, I think 16th or 17th, I think we were expecting one point and we got six out of today. So definitely a good result for us."

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