Ocon sees the positives after trying start to 2021
By Mat Coch
Saturday 14th August, 2021 - 2:50pm
Victory in the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix capped off a tumultuous opening half of the 2021 season of Esteban Ocon.
Joined by Fernando Alonso in place of the McLaren-bound Daniel Ricciardo for the current season, Ocon endured a run of four races without a point.
From the Azerbaijan Grand Prix to the second event at the Red Bull Ring, the Frenchman could manage no better than 14th, and was the first man out in both Baku and Austria.
That came against the backdrop of a new Alpine contract, the French manufacturer lumping its support behind its countryman despite the prevalence of emerging talent in its development programme.
Things came to a head in the lead up to the British Grand Prix, where the team switched the chassis and a number of other undisclosed components out from the 24-year-old’s car.
It immediately netted returns as he finished ninth and was on par with Alonso.
“I think there’s a lot of positives to take from the season,” Ocon reflected.
“On my side, I think we’ve had some really good performance, some good highlights, some good speed in qualifying.
“There’s been a few, you know, less good races recently, but I feel like we are coming back into the early season races and race pace that we had.”
Ocon netted four points finishes in the opening five races of the year, highlighted by a seventh in Portugal.
That remained his best of the year until the Hungarian Grand Prix, at which he sealed a maiden grand prix win.
“it is an awesome moment in my career, that’s for sure,” he said of the win.
“It’s the first win for the Renault Group since they came back in Formula One.
“After what we’ve been through of the difficult times, just the trust they’ve put in me, I’m glad that they get this reward.”
The young Frenchman has also formed a positive relationship with Alonso, a man he was warned as be difficult to work with ahead of the season.
The Spaniard was instrumental in Ocon’s success in Hungary, delaying Lewis Hamilton’s progress.
“I received a lot of bad comments about Fernando in the before he joined the team, and I tell you that we are forming a great duo together,” Ocon countered.
“We are pushing the team in the same direction. Hopefully it’s the first win of many for us, and hopefully we can show podium in short moments.”