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The story behind Ocon's Canadian GP Alpine F1 outburst

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Having given up a position late on to team-mate Pierre Gasly to allow him to try to overtake Daniel Ricciardo ahead, Ocon felt massively let down when the pledge to swap positions back if it failed did not happen.
As a consequence, Ocon was livid and lambasted his team's decision in the media pen straight after the chequered flag.
"No, it is unexplainable, that one,” he said.
"I've always respected the instructions that I've been given, as a driver, and I've done that once more. I'm the nice guy!
"I've done my part of the job – the team hasn't, honestly. It is not fair, on that race. So, I'm very frustrated with how things have been played out. I guess there are a lot of reasons, so we'll let the benefit of the doubt go on."
But while Ocon may have felt that things were unfair on him, details that later emerged showed why Alpine had eventually decided against that final swap back.

How it played out on track

In the last 25 laps of the Montreal race – in which Alpine achieved its first double points finish of the season – Gasly was running in tenth behind Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo but closing rapidly on them.
Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524

Photo by: Glenn DuNBAr / Motorsport Images

However, what was not clear from the outside was that Ocon had been dealing with some energy management issues that were holding back his pace and risked him falling back even more.
Gasly had been hassling tenth-placed Daniel Ricciardo for several laps when Yuki Tsunoda ahead of them spun out of the points and the Australian subsequently overtook Ocon for eighth.
Realising Ocon’s power unit problems would not allow him to get back past Ricciardo, Alpine requested Ocon to let Gasly through on lap 68 of 70.
Without initially explaining its reason why, Ocon was initially resistant and asked the question, to which his race engineer Josh Peckett revealed that the goal was for Gasly to attack Ricciardo.
"Forget it!" Ocon replied, in reference to the pace of the RB.
Peckett insisted, so Ocon asked for assurances that he would be given the place back if Gasly did not manage to overtake the RB.
He eventually gave in: "Okay, I let him by, but make what's right at the end."
Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Ocon let his team-mate through between Turns 7 and 8 on lap 69, but there wasn't enough time for Gasly to grab eighth place from Ricciardo.
Towards the end of the final lap, Ocon expected Gasly to slow down and let him back through – but that moment did not come.
Ocon was informed before the last chicane on the final lap: "Esteban, the cars are not swapping places. Push to the end, please."
It was that call that angered Ocon, who obviously felt he had been let down after playing his part to help Gasly and the team.
But the team’s call in not swapping the positions back was triggered by the fact that Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg was so close to Ocon that there had been a danger of the German gaining a place if the two Alpine cars had tried to engineer a swap late on and messed it up.

Team first view

Speaking to Motorsport.com about the events, Alpine team principal Bruno Famin said he was well aware that swapping positions like this was never easy. So that was why he was not worried by how things played out, either over team radio or in media comments afterwards.
“There's no real friction,” he said. “They are drivers, and when you ask one driver, whoever it is, to give his position to his team-mate, generally it's not so easy.
Bruno Famin, Team Principal, Alpine F1 Team

Bruno Famin, Team Principal, Alpine F1 Team

Photo by: Glenn DuNBAr / Motorsport Images

 “But we did it. We did it for the sake of the team on purpose. I think Esteban was fighting a bit with the energy management, consuming quite a lot of energy and then we had two Haas [cars] on the back.
“Esteban was slowing everybody, it was quite obvious on TV, and the risk was to have the two Haas cars passing us. And that's why we gave that instruction.
“They are saying things at the end of the race, but the day after we're on a different mind.”
The Canada team order drama probably had greater significance because of all that happened in Monaco, but it is not the first time that such a situation has proved troublesome for Alpine – with a position swap at last year’s Japanese Grand Prix having triggered some anger.
But Famin was clear that his team’s focus was on what was best for the squad, not what was ideal for each driver.
“They're fighting for their own result, career,” he said. “But at Alpine, it's very clear: there's only one goal: it is the team interest first.”
Quotes from Jake Boxall-Legge
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