Ocon on Alpine’s decision to fit full wets during F1 Dutch GP: “Not the right tyre at any moment”

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While Alpine is celebrating Pierre Gasly’s podium, on the other hand his teammate is extremely disappointed. Esteban Ocon, due to a wrong strategy in the closing stages of the Dutch Grand Prix, crossed the finish line only in tenth place believing more points were on the table.

The French driver after the race asserted that the decision to go for extreme wets was a mistake, and that if conditions were right for that compound, a red flag would probably be developed, which is what essentially happened.

A dozen laps to end of the race, the rain reappeared. Ocon was forced to wait an additional lap on a soft before being able to pit, as the tyres were not ready for him yet. That caused the loss of five positions.

In the meantime, his engineer informed him by radio of the choice to put the wets instead of intermediate, given the forecast of the arrival of massive rain. The Frenchman immediately tried to dissuade them – “Go inters guys” – seeing the condition of the track, but the team still proceeded with the chosen strategy. Just after the switch, coming back to the track, Ocon reported: “This is the worst decision guys, f*****g hell.”

After a reassurance from the team that it would come “monsoon rain for at least five minutes”, the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix winner once again replied: “Yeah, but if it’s not driveable they will red flag.”

And that’s actually what happened: the race was stopped due to Guanyu Zhou’s crashing leaving Ocon in 11th, having lost two places in the pit stop sequence.

Photo credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team

After the resumption of the race, now on inters, the Frenchman managed to climb one position as George Russell was forced to return to the pits due to a puncture following his touch with Lando Norris.

Visibly frustrated after the race, Ocon commented: “Unfortunately, we let these points just slip away at the end. I wasn’t happy with the call of the full wets. But also we boxed one lap too late.

“The tyres were not ready in the garage for me to box at the lap that I asked on the radio. So I had to stay out on slicks when it was wet and lost five positions. So went from sixth to eleventh.”

By the time the red flag was thrown, also the Red Bull’s drivers had switched to wets. Ocon denied this meant his team was right.

“No, it was not the right tyre at any moment. First, when you have a Red Bull, you have some margin in the front. We don’t have any margin.”

“And the second thing is, if you have to put the full wets, it’s a red flag. And it happened.

“So there is no point at any point where the full wet is a better tyre because it’s slower. And if it’s the right condition for the full wets, it’s not the right condition to drive an F1 car.”

In conclusion, Ocon was left to rue bad calls for a second straight event that cost him, while teammate Gasly and others had already stopped.

“Well, it’s been Spa and here, that this has happened, that’s how it is. But even with that, we could have done a P6 finish today, and it would not have mattered that obviously we lost out a little bit on that first pit stop. The big cost one was the last one.”