Ocon took advantage of a chaotic start in wet weather in Budapest to take the lead after a restart, as leader Lewis Hamilton came to a halt. Ocon kept his cool and led the entire race for his first Grand Prix victory, fending off Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton from Aston Martin.
It was one of Alpine’s many landmark races, which also included a podium finish for teammate Fernando Alonso in Qatar, who beat AlphaTauri in the battle for fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
Ocon believes that securing his very first victory not only boosted his self-confidence but also took some pressure off the rest of his Enstone squad.
“Yeah, that’s a great feeling and I’m also happy that we also took advantage of that at the team,” said Ocon.
“Obviously this is the first win since Renault returned to the new era of Formula 1, so next time hopefully soon we’ll be in that position, we know what it feels like. We don’t have as much pressure; we can just do our job and make it happen.
The Frenchman admits the team are still a long way from fighting for victory on a regular basis, but says the taste of victory has made the team even hungrier to taste it more often.
“In my case, I still work the same way as I do. The guys I have around, of course, they were really excited to have this win, it’s the first for a lot of them, but we want to have more of these moments, it is not a single one.
“We know we have a long way to go and hard work ahead, but it obviously feels good and I’m proud to have been through this with them, with such a talented group of people.”
Winner Esteban Ocon, Alpine A521
Photo By: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
While he doesn’t have a particularly fast car, in part due to an engine design that dates back to 2019, Ocon is pleased with how Alpine has managed to capitalize on every opportunity to score big points through improved race management and trackside operations, which are now part of the team’s philosophy.
“I think that’s definitely what we wanted to do, we knew we didn’t have the fastest car, we didn’t have the fastest package to fight in front but as soon as there was a opportunity, we were there to be able to take it: Qatar, Arabia, Budapest, almost Sochi for Fernando “, he explained.
“We wanted to be at the top of our game operationally and we did that this year. I think we can be proud of that because it means that when we have a fast car we can fight with the best cars and the best teams without being afraid. “