Ocon "glad" to repay Alonso for Hungary with Qatar defence

Alpine Formula 1 driver Esteban Ocon says he was happy to repay teammate Fernando Alonso for his help in Hungary by holding up Sergio Perez in the Qatar Grand Prix.

Ocon "glad" to repay Alonso for Hungary with Qatar defence

Before the summer break Ocon took a shock maiden win in Budapest after an incident-filled start saw him vault to the lead.

All race long Ocon defended his lead against Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel, but it was the resurgent Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton he was more worried about.

But behind Ocon teammate Alonso managed to keep the much quicker Hamilton at bay for several laps, which gave Ocon enough breathing room to win, Hamilton eventually climbing no higher than third.

During Sunday's Qatar Grand Prix the roles were reversed as this time Alonso was heading for his first podium in seven years, with Ocon in the role of wingman behind.

Both Alpine cars were on a one-stop strategy and came under fire from Perez's Red Bull, who was flying on a two-stopper.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, Esteban Ocon, Alpine A521, Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21, and Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, Esteban Ocon, Alpine A521, Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21, and Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Ocon was acutely aware of the situation when he was asked on the team radio to play his part and "get his elbows out" to hold up the Mexican, and thus give Alonso some more margin.

When asked if he felt the need to repay Alonso for his help in Hungary, Ocon said: "Yes, exactly. So I came on the radio saying 'how far in front is Fernando' and basically the team said: ‘Oh, you need to defend now.’

"And I said: ‘Yeah, that’s why I was asking you guys! I’m aware of that situation’.

"So yeah, I wanted to do my best to try and slow down Checo as much as possible for him not to be able attack Fernando towards the end."

While Ocon struggled to keep the much faster Perez behind for long, he did defend stoutly into the first sequence of corners after holding him up on the previous lap.

"I slowed him down a good three seconds and that was what we needed," Ocon explained.

"It was not as easy to defend as Budapest because the straights are longer and he was on fresher tyres so it was a different set of circumstances, but I’m glad that I played my part and I gave a little bit back of what Fernando gave me in Budapest."

Read Also:

Alonso ultimately beat Perez to third by 2.8 seconds, after leading by five seconds on the penultimate lap.

Ocon followed the pair home in fifth in what amounted to Alpine's finest result since Hungary, which has all but guaranteed the Enstone team will beat AlphaTauri to fifth in the 2021 constructors' championship.

shares
comments

Related video

Hamilton, Mercedes feeling "better than ever" ahead of F1 title run-in
Previous article

Hamilton, Mercedes feeling "better than ever" ahead of F1 title run-in

Next article

Piastri: Criticism against Alfa Romeo F1 signing Zhou is "pretty unfair"

Piastri: Criticism against Alfa Romeo F1 signing Zhou is "pretty unfair"
Load comments
The lessons F1 can take from the Masi "souk" deal criticisms Plus

The lessons F1 can take from the Masi "souk" deal criticisms

As Formula 1 heads to its Abu Dhabi season finale, the FIA and race director Michael Masi are under increased scrutiny, with radio messages broadcast during last weekend's race prompting discussion and controversy. But what can they learn from the Saudi Arabia debacle?

Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer Plus

Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer

OPINION: Saudi Arabia's new F1 circuit delivered a memorable first event, although not necessarily for all the right reasons. In the wake of the chaotic race, drivers voiced their concerns about the track but small changes could make significant improvements ahead of a return in four months

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain Plus

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain

From ranking as one of the most impressive new teams to join the Formula 1 grid, Haas’s stock has plummeted along with its on-track performances over the past two seasons. Everything now hangs on whether its reforged alliance with Ferrari can deliver a better car – and whether its rookie drivers can set aside their quarrels. OLEG KARPOV asks if any of these goals are achievable…

Formula 1
Dec 8, 2021
The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race Plus

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race

OPINION: Max Verstappen has made the 2021 Formula 1 championship. He’s taken the fight to the all-conquering Mercedes squad and its dominant champion, produced driving displays few can match. But he’s been on a controversial course too, and finally crossed a particular line in Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 7, 2021
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Plus

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Plus

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021