Ocon rues missed points after Piastri contact
By Mat Coch
Tuesday 24th October, 2023 - 3:39pm
Esteban Ocon was left to rue the potential of missed points in the United States Grand Prix following an early contact with Oscar Piastri.
Ocon and Piastri came together at Turn 2 on the opening lap with both drivers sustaining race-ending damage.
Having lost significant downforce in the impact, Alpine opted to retire the car after six laps as its French driver slipped down the order.
At McLaren, damage to the radiator saw Piastri carry on until he too was forced out on Lap 10.
“In the end, we both touched and we paid the price – we both had to retire the car,” Ocon said of the clash.
“Unfortunately, my whole sidepod was damaged, which is a big shame because I think we could have scored points today.”
Ocon started eighth in Sunday’s race, two places ahead of Piastri who found himself ahead exiting the opening corner.
However, with a run on the outside, the pair found the same piece of race track, the right-rear of the McLaren making contact with the left-hand sidepod of the Alpine.
It was a racing incident as the pack jostled for position in the opening metres of the race.
“I had a good launch, I was on the inside, just took the corner,” Ocon explained.
“Oscar then, you know, tried to go around the outside, and that was it.
“We touched. There was nothing that, if I had to do it again, that I would really change.”
Pierre Gasly in the other Alpine finished eighth, dropping one spot based on where he started – Sergio Perez moving from ninth on the grid to fifth.
He was one spot ahead of Lance Stroll in the Aston Martin, who’d started from the pit lane following a pre-race set-up change for both he and team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Alonso was also a retirement, while Lando Norris in the other McLaren was third.
That left the Woking squad with 20 points for its weekend at the Circuit of The Americas, versus six for Alpine and two for Aston Martin.
McLaren has now risen to fourth in the constructors’ championship, heading Aston Martin by eight points with four races remaining, while Alpine is sixth.