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Ocon: I've done my part of the job, the team hasn't

Ocon: I’ve done my part of the job, the team hasn’t

Ocon: I've done my part of the job, the team hasn't

Esteban Ocon’s separation from Alpine that was announced ahead of the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix is proving to be sour, the Frenchman and his team having a heated argument over race strategy in Montreal.

Ocon took himself out of the Monaco Grand Prix after clashing with teammate Pierre Gasly on the opening lap, and while the latter was able to continue racing, the former was rightly blamed for the incident, with Alpine boss Bruno Famin threatening there would be consequences.

Days later, Alpine announced they would be parting ways with Ocon by the end of the 2024 Formula 1 season, and while the driver insists the decision was not a punishment for his Monaco antics, there is no doubt that the rest of the season will be awkward for both parties.

And indeed, last weekend’s Canadian GP was the scene of a disagreement between Ocon and his team over late-race team orders.

Ocon was running eighth and lost a position to Daniel Ricciardo, with Gasly behind, and the team gave the order to switch cars to allow Gasly a chance to attack Ricciardo claiming Ocon had an issue with his car.

Ocon did not agree and only gave up his position with one lap to go which meant Gasly did not have enough time to chase Ricciardo.

Speaking to the media after the race, Ocon did not hold back, and when asked if he could explain what happened, he said: “No, it is unexplainable, that one.

I’m the nice guy!

“I’ve always respected the instructions that I’ve been given, as a driver, and I’ve done that once more. I’m the nice guy! I’ve done my part of the job – the team hasn’t, honestly.

“It is not fair, on that race. I’m very frustrated with how things have been played out. I guess there are a lot of reasons, so we’ll let the benefit of the doubt go on,” he added.

The outgoing Alpine driver went on insisting Gasly couldn’t have caught Ricciardo, he said: “We were two and a half seconds behind Daniel. In one lap, not even a Red Bull can catch up the gap. So no, it makes no sense.

“Either we don’t know what we are doing or we don’t realise how far it is, or it’s something else. It wasn’t the right decision,” he insisted.

The problem for Ocon and Alpine is that the 2024 F1 season is still at round 9 of 24, which means they have quite a number of races where they need to live together.

So how will that be? Ocon said: “Like usual, I’m just trying to do the best I can with what I’ve got in hands. That’s not going to change.

“I’ve got a very close team around me with my engineers, my mechanics – all these guys, they are pushing day in, day out for me to perform. Today, I think they were proud of the race that we were doing. But it’s a different story at the end.

“I’ve had harder times, so I will push hard anyway,” Ocon concluded when asked about a possible power shift within the team towards Gasly.

(Reporting by Agnes Carlier from Montreal)