Piastri’s role in Ocon’s maiden F1 win
By Mat Coch
Wednesday 4th August, 2021 - 3:22pm
Oscar Piastri played a crucial behind-the-scenes role in helping Esteban Ocon claim victory in the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Frenchman drove a commanding race, withstanding pressure from Sebastian Vettel throughout to seal his first win at the sport’s pinnacle.
His cause was aided ably on track by Alpine team-mate Fernando Alonso, whose rear-guard action in battling Lewis Hamilton delayed the recovering Mercedes enough to safeguard top spot in the closing stages.
“I was doing race support for the team on Friday night, very late night actually,” Piastri revealed.
The race support role would have seen the Australian working the team’s simulator, refining setup among other items ahead of Saturday’s track action.
Ocon and Alonso started the Hungarian weekend well, ending Free Practice 2 fourth and seventh fastest respectively.
Come Saturday, that translated to eighth and ninth in qualifying.
After both Alpine drivers avoided the opening corner crashes on Sunday afternoon, and Mercedes opted not to pit Hamilton at the restart, Ocon was left out front.
The 24-year-old duly delivered his first Formula 1 race win, and the team’s first in eight years.
“Some other parts of my group are crediting me with some of the victory, so I’ll take it,” Piastri said.
“Of course a tiny part was me, if anything. Esteban was in the right place at the right time and then did a mega job to hold off Vettel for the win.
“It was pretty awesome to watch that with the Alpine guys here.
“I’ll take a little bit of credit but it was certainly mostly down to Esteban.”
Currently leading the FIA Formula 2 Championship, Piastri was in action for Alpine at Monza on Monday at the wheel of the team’s 2018-spec car.
It was his third outing in the machine, having previously sampled it in Bahrain and Silverstone.
His next competitive outing will come at the famed Italian circuit, when F2 supports the Italian Grand Prix on September 10-12.