Alonso made his return to F1 in 2021 after two seasons of absence, in partnership with Ocon at Alpine.
Ocon managed to secure his first Grand Prix victory with a surprise victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix, aided by Alonso, who managed to stop Lewis Hamilton’s charge with a brilliant defensive display.
The duo helped Alpine clinch fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship and seemed to have a cordial relationship both on and off the track.
Ocon said that after his victory in Hungary, warnings about potential problems he might face against Alonso within the squad turned out to be false, praising their good working relationship.
Asked by Autosport about their partnership when reflecting on the 2021 season, Ocon said they had had a “fantastic collaboration” together, allowing him to learn a lot that helped raise his level of play.
“He sure is a hell of a runner and he’s extremely fast, and the fastest teammate I’ve had in a while,” said Ocon.
“I was very happy to work alongside him, but I learned a lot from him. I think just like Fernando thinks outside the box, where other riders wouldn’t think.
Fernando Alonso, Alpine F1 and Esteban Ocon, Alpine F1 address the media
Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images
“It pushes the boundaries of strategies on how we can optimize everything, so in that regard, I’ve definitely learned a lot.
“Also on racecraft I think I learned quite a bit from him, watching his early laps is something I’ve always done.
“I always followed what he was doing and towards the end of the year I was just gaining positions and not losing any and had some great first laps.
“So I think it’s a privilege to work alongside a legend like him.”
Alonso also praised Ocon after their first season together, saying the Frenchman’s pace has helped him level up after two years off the series.
Alonso ultimately outscored Ocon by seven points during the year, but the pair finished tied 11-11 in qualifying.
“I put him as a benchmark at the start of the year, and I was happy to see that I matched him in terms of pace and that we were pushing each other,” said Ocon.
“It ultimately gave the team the maximum we could have. We were squeezing the maximum out of the package most of the time, so that was good.”