Esteban Ocon’s Saturday ended with a crescendo of emotions that took him, also taking advantage of the penalty inflicted on Charles Leclerc, up to third place on the starting grid. In a weekend in which the Alpine demonstrated good performances facing the top areas, the Frenchman took advantage of the opportunity that was placed before him, collecting an excellent result that could radically change his weekend.
However, despite the good behavior of the A523, which presented itself in Monte Carlo with important aerodynamic updates, Ocon himself did not expect to finish in the top five, nor to start from a position valid for the fight on the third step of the podium.
“What a day. If you had told us before the weekend that we would have finished in the top five, we would have already signed. But it went even better. Less than two tenths from pole position, I am extremely satisfied with how we have built the weekend so far” , said a radiant transalpine pilot in interviews.
Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523
Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images
“From the simulator and all the sessions we’ve had to date. I felt confident in the car from the first lap of Q1, being able to push the car much harder than usual and I let it go 100% on the last lap ”.
“I hit the wall a couple of times, but this allowed us to set a good lap time. I’m very satisfied with how we built everything,” added the Frenchman.
For a few moments, Ocon even led the timesheets, momentarily posting the fastest time in Q3. In the end, the Frenchman didn’t hide a hint of bitterness over the fact that a red flag didn’t come out at the right moment, above all because the tactics chosen by the Alpine also leaned in this direction. If in Miami the transalpine had had to give up the decisive assault for the yellow flag caused by Charles Leclerc, on this occasion the team had chosen to play early, leaving early.
“That was the goal. In Miami we had started late and there was a red flag for Charles (Leclerc) at the end and we wanted to avoid that. We wanted to start earlier with the two sets (of tyres) and that’s what we did. Unfortunately There was no red flag for us, but it could have paid off. That’s something we’ll keep in mind.”
Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Although Monaco tends to be a special case on the calendar, there is a lot of satisfaction with the result, mixed with a touch of frustration with what could have been. “There’s a bit of frustration with being only 188 milliseconds off pole and with what could have been.”
“If I had had a better exit, I would have had lower temperatures with the front tires in the last two corners, you never know. But I think it was optimized to the fullest.”
The central aspect was being able to quickly find the set-up, an element on which Alpine has often proved to be on the right track recently, if not for the specific case of Baku with the sprint race. However, it is still too early to judge the updates, which can only be evaluated in more detail next week in Spain. “We will see. I think it’s a very unique circuit. It’s a very special feature and I think if you take all the risks and get it right, you can go further than the car can go.’
“I don’t know. For sure this weekend we were very confident right from the start. We got the set up right, but we have to confirm that when we get to Barcelona,” added Ocon.