Monday, May 27, 2024

Esteban Ocon Delighted to be Back in Points at Spa after ‘Tough Few Weeks’

Esteban Ocon recovered from starting fourteenth in the Belgian Grand Prix last Sunday to finish eighth, with the Frenchman pleased with his comeback drive through the field and his first top ten finish since the Canadian Grand Prix.

The BWT Alpine F1 Team driver made a two-stop strategy work in his favour, the Frenchman starting and finishing the race on the soft compound, with a nineteen-lap stint on the medium compound in between.

Ocon made some good overtakes across the race, with moves on Yuki Tsunoda and Alexander Albon in particular pleasing to the Frenchman, while a late pass on Lance Stroll ensured he scored four valuable points towards the championship.

“It feels good to be back in the points here in Spa after a few tough weeks where we’ve finished outside the points due to circumstances out of our control,” reflected Ocon.  “Overall, it was a good recovery drive and a well-executed race from the team today.

“Eighth place is a very good result after starting from fourteenth on the grid. There were some fun overtakes along the way too, especially on Yuki [Tsunoda] and Alex [Albon].

“I think it’s a good way to end a busy weekend for us and a nice way to go into the summer break where we’ll look to rest and recharge before attacking the second part of the season.”

“It’s been a frustrating afternoon where we did not score points” – Pierre Gasly

Team-mate Pierre Gasly was left frustrated with his result, with the Frenchman finding himself compromised going through Eau Rouge on the opening lap by a slowing Oscar Piastri.

Piastri had acquired damage to his McLaren F1 Team car after making contact with both Scuderia Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and the inside wall at turn one, and the Australian was slowing down as he approached the Eau Rouge section of the circuit.  Unfortunately, Gasly was boxed in behind him and lost a handful of positions as a result.

Gasly extended his soft tyre stint in a bid to regain positions and ultimately, he finished just outside of the top ten in eleventh, a disappointing result taking into account the good pace Alpine were able to show on Sunday.

“It’s been a frustrating afternoon where we did not score points,” said Gasly.  “I made a pretty good start into Turn 1 and then on the run into Turn 2, gaining a couple of positions.

“I was very unlucky with Oscar [Piastri] who had damage and was slow up Eau Rouge and I ended up being stuck behind him with a number of cars able to overtake. That made things difficult for us, left us playing catch-up and then we had to see if we could extend our first stint on Softs with the chance of rain.

“It did not rain hard enough, so we converted to a one-stop and in the end fell just short of the points. Some of the racing was fun out there but we’re still lacking some power which we need to find.

“Now we have the summer break where all of us will take some time to rest and recover ready to take on the second part of the season.”

Pierre Gasly ended only eleventh after finding himself hindered by a slow moving Oscar Piastri on lap one – Credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team