Ocon delighted after “six difficult races since Singapore”, securing P4 from P16 in F1 Las Vegas GP

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On Saturday evening in Las Vegas, the Grand Prix unfolded unexpectedly well for Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, who turned a poor qualifying result into a success for the team.

Photo Credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team

Ocon’s journey from 16th to 4th position was an incredible result for the driver, his best result of the season, aside from his podium in Monaco. He made 8 places on the first lap as carnage ensued in front of him.

He then cleared the two Williams’s, teammate Gasly and gained from Russell’s 5-second penalty to bag this fantastic result.

The Alpine driver expressed his joy, stating: “I enjoyed that a lot” after noting that the team “didn’t seem to catch a break since yesterday.”

After “six difficult races since Singapore, incidents, DNFs, and quite a lot of points left on the table”, Ocon was pleased to announce that “finally today, things turned around.”

“It’s good that we never stopped believing, never stopped trying hard, we kept on pushing, and the team has done an awesome job. In qualifying yesterday and in the race today I think we kept on top of the tyres and that made the difference.”

Ocon had got into a squabble with Verstappen during Q1 as the Dutchman lunged him into turn 1 as the Frenchman had passed him before turn 17 before launching into their laps, leaving the Alpine driver out in Q1.

“It’s a shame about yesterday’s quali. But I don’t think we left anything on the table today.”

Despite the unknowns of the new Las Vegas street circuit, the race was no stroll down the strip for the drivers. Whilst polesitter Charles Leclerc challenges early in the race, Ocon used the chaos as an opportunity to gain several positions whilst the team managed tyre wear and aided his climb up the grid.

Ocon joked that his Deadpool-themed helmet seemed to aid his performance, jesting: “the healing power, that’s very important!”

When asked about the lack of tyre grip on the track, the French driver noted:

“It was incredibly tricky, from exiting the pits to the start, I didn’t have the best launch but when I came to brake, the car just went sideways, and I saw everyone just skidding in front and going wide.”

He was candid and expressed that he “gained quite a lot of positions from that.” Noting that: “Obviously, when things are tricky and unexpected like this, it brings opportunities. And I think today we’ve seen them pretty well.”

One of the highlights from the race was Ocon’s battle with teammate, Pierre Gasly. Despite team instructions to hold position, Ocon claimed that he was already ‘making the move’ on Gasly when he got told.

“If the team had asked for me to give back the position, I would have done so straight away.”

As the race progressed, the track changed significantly. Ocon noted that “It resets overnight every time. And at the end of the race, the grip was huge compared to the beginning.”