Fernando Alonso has said that viewers of Formula 1 are seeing how good Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon is this season, after the Frenchman endured a difficult 2020 campaign.
Having spent a year out of F1 in 2019, Ocon was soundly beaten last year by former teammate Daniel Ricciardo, with the Australian finishing fifth in the drivers’ championship, 57 points ahead of Ocon.
However, Ocon has looked much improved so far in 2021, outqualifying Alonso at three out of the opening four weekends and finishing ahead of him in race trim at all three of the Grands Prix they both finished.
Alonso, who took a two-year break from F1 himself, has admitted that he is not yet back up to his full level and explained that Ocon’s additional year in the car gave him an advantage in terms of integration with the team.
“I think he’s good, we are seeing that,” he said. “He’s in very good form right now, fully integrated in the team, a podium last year in Bahrain in the last part of the championship and now giving perfect weekends.
“This is very good and impressive what he’s achieving now. I’m giving my 100% and obviously that’s not enough to be at that level at the moment so I need to keep improving.
“In a way we talk about this and we anticipated this a little bit when Carlos joined Renault. He was not as quick as Hulkenberg I remember in the first couple of races. Daniel was arguable slower than Nico in 2019 and he was very good in 2020 in his second year.
“Esteban was struggling last year with Daniel and he’s good in this second year, so it seems that it’s a team that is a little bit different to the others and you need an adaptation.
“So I’m trying to do this as quickly as I can. I’m not worried, it’s going to come very soon, if not already because Imola we crossed the line together and Portimao we crossed the line together but we will try to help the team as much as we can.”