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F1 | Italian GP | Esteban Ocon on “frustrating” time penalty received in Monza

F1 | Italian GP | Esteban Ocon on “frustrating” time penalty received in Monza

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Esteban Ocon disagrees with the steward’s decision of issuing a five seconds time penalty for him, as he believes a similar racing incident in a previous race went unpunished and felt like he had the pace to aim for more than the single point awarded for P10.

The Alpine driver lightly collided with Sebastian Vettel on lap 15 of the Italian Grand Prix while battling for P12, forcing the German driver partially off track towards the second chicane. Ocon was given the time penalty because he didn’t leave a car’s width of space.

Even though the race ended with a double points finish for the French team, as Fernando Alonso ended in eighth place, the Frenchman is left unsatisfied by the Monza weekend:

“I don’t think it reflects the work that we’ve done this weekend, clearly. I think that we’ve worked extremely hard on a difficult weekend and we lost, you know, we lost out on some racing incidents, which, for once, I disagree with the stewards on what happened in the race."

Ocon recalled the dynamics of the fight for the race lead that had happened in the exact same della Roggia chicane when Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc squeezed and pushed out of track Lewis Hamilton, but received only a warning and went on to win the race:

"The incident with Sebastian is a racing action, it’s not really a racing incident. Because the same happened to Charles and Lewis in 2019, and there was no action there taken. So, we have no damage on the car, nothing really happened. That caused me a good three places, I would say. So, it’s a bit frustrating."

The Alpine driver had shown good pace in the second practice session, scoring the fifth-fastest lap, but struggled in the qualifying session, where he ended in P14.

"We were side by side, a bit too close, but basically the track narrows once you arrive on braking. I didn’t really move the steering wheel. It’s just that the track just narrows and that’s what happened exactly with Charles and Lewis and if that incident didn’t have any penalties or things like that, then mine shouldn’t have as well, because it’s two of the same thing."

"So, I normally agree with the stewards, but this time I disagree with both I have to say," Ocon concluded.

When asked on the topic, racing director Michael Masi explained that, at the time of the Leclerc-Hamilton clash, both FIA and the F1 teams had agreed afterwards that a time penalty would have been a fairer punishment for the collision:

"[The incidents are] similar, but not the same. Secondly, after the 2019 one we did a complete discussion with all of the drivers, team principals and sporting directors. And it was sort of deemed in that situation that probably a five-second penalty would have been better than a black and white [flag]. So, exactly what came about."

However, it wasn’t the only racing decision that left him frustrated: Ocon had to return P10 to Nicholas Latifi in the earlier race laps after cutting the corner on Turn 4: "And also I had to give the position back to Nicholas [Latifi] at the start, which, to me, doesn’t feel correct because I didn’t really gain an advantage on that one."

Those accidents feel even more disappointing as the French driver believed that much better results could have been achieved with ease:

"That race doesn’t reflect the work we’ve done this weekend. It was a tough weekend in terms of pace for us, but I think P7 or P6 would have been possible. So yeah, a bit frustrating with the incidents that happened on track, the penalties."

A second double points finish in a row, that could have been five without the Belgium GP in which Alonso had qualified in P11:

"We can always extract more from what the car is capable to do on race day, and also in qualifying. Recently we’ve been very strong on that and to have both cars again scoring, even if it’s small points, it is important for us."

A. F1

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September 15, 2021 at 06:29PM

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