A very exciting, very polemic Saudi Arabian GP took place last week and left the World drivers’ championship standings tied, meanwhile, Mercedes and Red Bull continue their way to conquer the constructors’ championship as, following Sergio Pérez DNF and Valtteri Bottas taking a one-second-off-the-line podium from Esteban Ocon’s Alpine, the German team faces Abu Dhabi 28 points ahead of the Milton-Keynes based team.
One of the protagonists on the debut race of the brand new Jeddah circuit was Esteban Ocon, when, after several incidents, much drama and red flags, he got to drive the second restart of the race from pole position, and even though the Frenchman kept third place for most of the 70 laps of the race, he explained his lost position meters away from the checkered flag to the #77 Mercedes. “We suddenly lost quite a lot of performance in the last two laps,” he said, as reported by motorsport.com.
“There had been quite a lot of contact in that race. In the first start, there was some contact with Tsunoda, and then there was the contact with Lewis [at the second restart].”
“So we lost a big chunk of the floor two laps from the end, and I was quite a lot slower. I lost quite a lot of my rear grip and I thought it was just my tyre degradation going.”
“So I had to use a lot of our battery to keep Valtteri behind. And then, arriving to the flag, we basically derated so we had no hybrid left. That’s why we couldn’t keep him more behind. It's a shame that we lost that performance in the last two laps but we can’t have everything obviously.”
Having being benefited from the leader’s battle, Ocon found himself with a similar scenario from which he caught his first and so far only victory on this year’s Hungarian GP, however, the Alpine driver said he never intended to get in between the title fight developing inside the race in Saudi Arabia.
“I thought they were going to be aggressive with each other, but they hit me as well in the same moment, I mean I was expecting it to be a tough fight for sure in the first couple of corners, and I never had the intention of keeping them behind anyway.”
“I knew they were going to be a lot faster so I let both of them go. I was not really trying to ruin my time in the race, I was trying to do the fastest time I could, and that was the best way I could do it. After that, we needed to keep that third place,” he concluded.