How to survive Alonso

The cold data speaks well for the competition at Alpine. In the race, Alonso beats Ocon 11-10. On points, too, 81-74. In qualifying, tied at eleven. The Asturian was third in Qatar, his best result in 2021; and the French, first in Hungary. In his almost two decades of Formula 1, Fernando has been a crusher of companions, only Button scored more points than he with the same car in the same season (McLaren, 2015), but Esteban has followed in the wake of the two-time Spanish champion and ends up with surprising numbers. Not long ago, Vandoorne was overshadowed even by cars that gave little of themselves. Ocon shines with its own light.

Esteban explains, How to survive Fernando? “I heard a lot from Fernando, a lot of people said that he was a difficult teammate, that he ended up with teammates. I wanted to see it with my own eyes and in the end it was not true. We have had a fantastic collaboration. He is a brutal competitor, extremely fast, I have no doubt that he is the fastest partner I have ever had. I have learned a lot with him, from his way of thinking and going further when other drivers or the team would not consider it. “Ocon confesses that he has reviewed all of Alonso’s first laps to get ideas:” I have taken many things from his ability in the race, from what he does in the first laps, and at the end of the year in the first laps I have gained a lot of positions myself, I never lost them. It is a privilege to work alongside a legend like him. I’m happy to have been at a similar pace. “

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“The riding style is different, but our ‘feedback’ is exactly the same when the two cars functioned similarly. And the set-up it was very close, there was barely half a point of difference in the front wing. His riding style suited some circuits better and at other times I was the one who was the best with the wheels on a particular circuit. I tried experimenting. At times he also closed his eyes so as not to see what Fernando was doing. But it is one of the teams in which there have been fewer differences between the two drivers. They are very similar figures, it’s interesting, “reveals the 25-year-old Frenchman.

Otherwise, Ocon takes stock of a positive year: “It has been a good season, with all the emotions. My first victory, something that I will remember all my life. There were difficult moments and frustrations in 2021, like Saudi Arabia (lost the podium on the last straight), and complicated situations like Austria ( abandonment in the first lap by accident). The difference compared to 2020 is that I got over all those complications, I understood them fast and I was able to recover with a good very fast pace. As a team, and for my part, with all the people who work with me on the track and in the factory. The atmosphere we have in the garage is fantastic, the best to prepare for next season, and I’m very happy to finish like this and have new challenges in 2022. “

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