Alonso says risky strategy ruined "fun" race, Ocon admits team "struggled"
Alpine's Esteban Ocon admits the team "struggled" in Spain, while Fernando Alonso says risky strategy hurt them in an otherwise "fun" race.
At Catalunya, Ocon finished ninth in the race - four positions behind his starting spot of fifth. It was another race in which Alpine, after a good qualifying, was less competitive in the race. The Frenchman says his efforts were harmed by a battle with McLaren's Lando Norris - one factor of many which contributed to his underwhelming result.
"We struggled a bit," Ocon admitted. "Quite a few things we need to review. Overall, we leave the weekend thinking positive. We are a lot happier where we are now. We know the areas we need to focus about. Coming to Monaco we go there with a smile at the moment," he insists.
Ocon continues: "Even driving alone, it was quite tricky. Also fighting with Norris we were pushing on. Then we switched to the pitstop. Basically, I had double penalty. So there are a few things to review. It was a good learning race and we will take it forward."
Unlike Ocon, Alonso admits his strategy, which saw him fall to 17th, was a "risky" one, but argues that his race result would have been no better if they had deployed a different strategy. "It was risky – We were P11 when we stopped everybody. [It was] the best way we had to respond to Gasly who stopped in lap 23-24.
"To score tenth position was to take a risk. But it did not work because we finished the tires. If we stayed out, probably Gasly would have overtaken us and we would have been P12 or P13 for the rest of the race. It was difficult," Alonso said, finishing outside the points, while teammate Ocon was in the Top 10.
He added: "The race was fun. I enjoyed the race because it was Barcelona, my home Grand Prix. It was a special Sunday for me. In the grand stand there were not a lot of people – only 1000 - but you feel a bit of adrenaline when you hear the speaker say your name. It was fun. I really enjoyed. It was a special Sunday for me.
"To see the fan and hear the speaker say your name was a bit special. I had lots of battles with different tyre strategy. We would love to have a better strategy and to finish in a better position and score points. It was not possible. In Portimao, we were competitive because we did not know if it was the circuit.
"In Barcelona we were competitive again. Now, lets wait a couple of GPs. But we can be the 5th team behind Ferrari and McLaren. This is good news as in the first races it was even difficult to be in Q3. There is still work to do on the strategy, the tyres etc… Here it was not a surprise, the tires . It was a risk that we took."
[This story was written by me for FormulaRapida and edited by Darshan Chokhani]