Esteban Ocon insists on being team player after team orders by Alpine in F1 Canadian GP, as Pierre Gasly plays it down.

It was a crazy afternoon in F1 Canadian GP indeed. Having come through to score double points, Alpine were left with a sour taste still due to late team orders. Ocon was visibly unhappy after the race, having finished 10th from nearly last.

Gasly was slightly upbeat finishing ninth from nearly last as well, overcoming Lap 1 tangle with Red Bull’s Perez. The Alpine in-team shenanigans took a new turn in F1 Canadian GP, when the team requested Ocon to give way to his teammate in the dying stages.

Ocon was suffering from derating issue and he was eventually passed for eighth by Visa Cash App RB’s Daniel Ricciardo with 4-5 laps remaining. The immediate action from Alpine was to get Gasly ahead of his teammate to catch the Australian.

But the radio deliberations where Ocon straight up denied giving way resulted in a late swap which didn’t allow Gasly to get by Ricciardo or even catch him. And with no time left, they couldn’t swap them back which only created a ‘I told you so’ situation.

Ocon noted that it was a futile attempt but his decision to allow Gasly through was perhaps smartly done at a time when it was clear that his teammate wouldn’t be able to catch Ricciardo and it would be difficult for Alpine to swap them back as well.

“Yeah, forget it,” was one of Ocon’s radio messages, when he was initially requested to let Gasly through. He asked if he would get the place back, the team affirmed, but it didn’t happen. “Yeah, amazing. Thank you, amazing. Thank you,” he said on radio then.

“No comments. Too nice. Too nice,” he continued on, while adding further, “I’ve done what I had to do, which is the most important, but you guys didn’t do what you had to do. That’s it,” while finishing off with, “Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, happy to be working with you guys too, Dave and Josh. Very happy. Thanks for supporting. Thanks for supporting.”

Post-race, he continued on with it in the media, insisted that he is too nice and also a team player which was an answer to what happened in Monaco, where Alpine seemingly came hard on him for causing the Lap 1 tangle with Gasly and ending his own race.

“We did a mega race, from last to end up inside the points, to P9 really and not P10, we even had the problem with derating in the middle of the race,” said Ocon to media. “At the end I couldn’t really get the battery to its full potential which we had this problem on the grid. What happened was I was asked to let Pierre go with two laps to go who was 2.5s in front.

“Inside the car, I called it and I said that there is no way this is possible, so what do we do. The team asked me to let go. So I lost a place and I am not happy with that because I did a better race and I should be in the front. I think I have done my part of the job, [but] I don’t think the team did their part of the job.

“I have been a team player and I have always respected instructions that I have given always, it is always the case and I show it once more. But the nice guy doesn’t always pay off in Formula 1. That is bothering me a lot and I hope things will turn around in the future,” summed up Ocon.

In their defence, Alpine stated: “Towards the end of the race, Esteban had a energy management problem, which impacted his performance. Early into Lap 68, Esteban was instructed to let Pierre by in order to give Pierre chance to attack Ricciardo for P8. Esteban then let Pierre by halfway into Lap 69 at Turn 8.

“By this time was too late, Ricciardo escaped too far ahead for Pierre to put pressure on and with Hulkenberg threatening behind. It was too risky to swap back positions, the important (thing) is that the team managed to secure the important double points.”

For Gasly, he focused more on getting the three points rather than how the team orders worked out. He felt it was too late for him to be cleared to get behind Ricciardo, but didn’t think it was a big deal eventually as it was made out on radio.

He was fortunate as well to continue after the Lap 1 tangle with Perez. “I definitely thought that this could be it and a day like today, we want to see the chequered flag,” he said. “I haven’t really seen what happened, the visibility was extremely poor, I was sideways, I lost positions and we were almost last by that time.

“And that is why when I made the call to go to hard, I knew that it was touch and go and when I came out of the pits, it was very-very tough to stay on track. I couldn’t even turn, the car just full lock, like first gear was not turning but then I was trying to get to the dry bit to get some grip and looking back, it was a lap too early.

“But it was like I knew I had to try because if I wanted to have a potential gain then it was definitely worth the risk. Then after that I actually managed to overtake quite a lot of cars, I managed to build some temperature and managed to get by quite of guys. It was quite pleasant compared to Monaco where you see the same rear wing for entire race, at least this weekend it felt like there was quite a lot of action and it was quite enjoyable,” summed up Gasly.

When asked on how the team orders worked out, Gasly added: “The main news should be that we scored with both cars. Looking at the simulation this morning, none of them looked that it will be achievable, so definitely a very positive day for the team. The target was quite clear at the end, I was faster on the hard tyres towards the end of the race and I was right behind Daniel.

“As soon as Daniel overtook Esteban, the goal for me was to…for the other car to let me pass for the last four laps to try to overtake Daniel with the DRS. It took slightly more time than we would have liked but honestly, it is no big deal. What’s tricky is with these two laps, it is just enough for Daniel to break the DRS and then when you do it two laps away to finish, it is too far away but then as if it was done slightly earlier then potentially I am in the DRS and you get slightly more chances.

“But honestly, as I said, it is no big deal, I think we did a great team work, we tried different stuff, we stayed out on inter and then I boxed, I put the hard tyres, we got some good data. I think it was a very good day for the whole team and to come out with these three points, could be very valuable at the end of the year.”

Here’s FIA pulling up Canadian GP promoters

Here’s how F1 Canadian GP panned out

Here’s Esteban Ocon reflects on leaving Alpine

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