In the 15th round of the Italian Grand Prix, Ocon faced Aston Martin Vettel driver for 12th place as he moved to the race line for the second chicane as Vettel was on the outside, pushing the German partially off the track.
Because the two collided and Ocon didn’t leave Vettel the width of a car, he was given a five-second penalty, which he served in his only pit stop. . This penalty ultimately prevented the Frenchman from finishing higher than 10th.
The incident drew parallels with a clash between Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton in an exciting 2019 race, in which Hamilton had to avoid acting after leader Leclerc made a similar move.
At the time, Leclerc left with a warning and hung on to win the race, and Ocon wondered why the Stewards had made a different decision this time around.
“The incident with Sebastian is racing action, it’s not really a racing incident,” said Ocon. “Because the same thing happened to Charles and Lewis in 2019, and no action was taken there.
“So we don’t have any damage to the car, nothing really happened. It gave me three good places, I would say. So, it’s a little frustrating.
“We were side by side, a little too close, but basically the track narrows once you get to the brakes. I haven’t really moved the wheel.
“It’s just that the track narrows and that’s exactly what happened with Charles and Lewis and if this incident didn’t have any penalties or things like that then mine shouldn’t have too. good, because it’s two of the same thing.
“So I normally agree with the stewards, but this time I don’t agree with both, I have to say.”
Esteban Ocon, Alpine A521
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
When asked why the Ocon incident was treated differently from the similar Leclerc-Hamilton clash in 2019, FIA race director Michael Masi said the FIA and the teams agreed afterwards the 2019 race that a time penalty would have been a better decision in such incidents.
“[The incidents are] similar, but not the same, ”replied Masi.
“Second, after the one in 2019, we had a full discussion with all the drivers, team directors and sport directors. And it was sort of considered in this situation that a five-second penalty would probably have been better than ‘a black and white [flag]. So, exactly what happened. “
Earlier in the race, the marshals also ordered Ocon to let Williams driver Nicholas Latifi pass after cutting the turn at Turn 4, although it took four laps for the marshals to get that message across.
Despite these two costly incidents, Ocon still came away with a point during an otherwise difficult weekend for Alpine, his teammate Fernando Alonso finishing eighth.
Therefore, Ocon was always happy with how the team managed to get the most out of the car on a track that did not match its specifications.
“This race does not reflect the work we did this weekend. It was a difficult weekend in terms of pace for us, but I think 7th or 6th would have been possible,” Ocon added. “So yes, a little frustrating with the incidents that happened on the track, the penalties.”
“We can always squeeze out more of what the car is capable of doing on race day, and also in qualifying. Recently we’ve been really strong on that and having both cars scoring again, although they are small dots are important to us. “