The Qatar GP proved to be a memorable race for the Alpine team as Fernando Alonso scored his first podium since 2014. However, it was also a solid day for teammate Esteban Ocon who climbed his way up from P9 to P5 and proved how rewarding teamwork is in F1.
Ocon managed to have an advantageous start overtaking both Carlos Sainz and Yuki Tsunoda.
“Today was a great race on our side and I am very pleased to have finished fifth after starting ninth. I managed to pass Carlos [Sainz] and Yuki [Tsunoda] after a good start,” replied Ocon.
Ocon had his special moment earlier this season when he won the Hungary GP which was also Alpines’s maiden win. As the teammates’ positions were reversed with Ocon leading the race, it was up to Alonso to help out to ensure the team’s victory and defend against Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton who was also on the hunt for the win. Not only did Ocon remember that courageous move by his teammate in the heat of the moment on the Losail track, but he also wanted to repay Alonso for that moment in Hungary.
“I tried to return the favour to Fernando from Budapest; I asked the team if they needed me to defend from Perez. He was on fresh tyres and it was not easy, but I did the maximum I could.
Alpine headed into the race weekend at Doha tied in the constructors’ championship with AlphaTauri. However, both drivers were able to maximize points for the team and Alonso’s third-place podium combined with Ocon’s 5th place finish moved Alpine 25 points clear of the Italian stable.
“Today’s result is almost like a win for us. Everyone in the team deserves credit for this fantastic effort. Twenty-five points’ gain over Alpha Tauri sets us up very well for the final two races of the year!”
Laurent Rossi, Chief Executive at Alpine highlighted Ocon’s performance on track at the Qatar GP and praised the Frenchman for his contribution to the team.
“We must not forget Esteban’s equally brilliant drive to finish fifth today. He also enjoyed a superb start, which put him in a great position to score points. He benefitted from other cars two-stopping but still remained calm with others closing in late on to take a very valuable ten points,” stated Rossi.