Ocon didn't feel "rusty" fighting for first win since GP3 in 2015

Esteban Ocon says he didn't feel "rusty" fighting for his first race win in over six years during Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix, scoring a shock maiden Formula 1 victory.

Ocon didn't feel "rusty" fighting for first win since GP3 in 2015

Ocon benefitted from first-lap drama and a strategy miscue by Mercedes to move into the lead of the race on the fifth lap before controlling proceedings en route to a surprise win for Alpine.

Ocon spent the majority of the race being closely followed by Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel, who was within DRS range for significant periods but never able to get close enough to attempt an overtake.

It marked the first time that Ocon had led in F1, and was his first victory since his taking his sole GP3 win in May 2015 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

But despite not having recent experience fighting at the very front of the field, Ocon explained after the race that he felt no lack of sharpness.

"No, I didn't feel rusty, and I'm sorry to disappoint, but it's easier to fight at the front like we did now, to manage the opponents that are behind, than to fight in the midfield how we are doing [usually]," Ocon said.

"That is much harder. So the whole time in Formula 1 I had pretty good training. The fight in the midfield is a lot tougher than what's happening in the front.

"It was hard with Seb putting a lot of pressure. He gave me a hard time, but when you are ahead, you have clean air, you are the one who is dictating the pace on such a track."

Vettel would later be disqualified from the results over a fuel infringement, but had said after the race that he felt he was quicker than Ocon, leaving him frustrated that he could not catch and pass the Alpine driver.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A521, Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A521, Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The win marked the first for the Alpine brand in F1, the first for Renault since its works return in 2016, and the first for the Enstone-based outfit since Kimi Raikkonen's Australian Grand Prix victory for Lotus in 2013.

But Ocon feared at one stage that he and Alpine had made the wrong call after being the first car in the queue to pit for slicks before the standing start.

PLUS: The “heart-breaking” call that led to Ocon’s Hungarian GP triumph

Race leader Lewis Hamilton opted to stay out on intermediates, leaving Ocon to lead a train of 14 cars into the pits while Hamilton took the standing start alone on the grid.

Ocon said it was a "difficult decision" to switch to slicks, noting that "Lewis normally doesn't take wrong decisions".

"I've never seen him taking a wrong decision, so to box when you are P2 on the road, it's a bit heart-breaking at first," Ocon said.

"But I'm glad that we did it because we were a long way ahead. The guys did a great pitstop as well.

"Sebastian had a slow stop, that's probably what made the difference, because they would probably have undercut us on that. So yeah, the guys in the garage again, top job by them."

shares
comments

Related video

10 things we learned from the F1's 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix
Previous article

10 things we learned from the F1's 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix

Next article

FIA tweaks Hungarian GP final classification amid Vettel appeal

FIA tweaks Hungarian GP final classification amid Vettel appeal
Load comments
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021