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Alpine F1 Team

Alonso and Ocon share their views on intense early-race scrap

Having spent the first stint of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix battling closely with each other, Alpine teammates Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon have each given their take on the fight.

Ocon Russell Saudi
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To news overview © Alpine

Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon have been reflecting on their close battle in the early stages of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The duo entertained viewers and spectators as they took advantage of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit's three DRS zones to overtake each other several times.

However, the scrap between the Alpine teammates backfired at one stage, as the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas closed in on the squabbling pair and overtook Ocon.

Though Alpine seemed largely content to let their two drivers race, the team did instruct Ocon to hold position when it seemed that Bottas would be a threat.

Ocon enjoys "privilege" of battling with Alonso

While Alonso retired on lap 35 with a power unit issue, Ocon would go on to finish in a strong sixth place, and said he had enjoyed battling with a driver in the league of Alonso.

"Of course, when you fight it's the same as in karting, you lose time," Ocon told media including RacingNews365.com.

"It's normal, but [given] our position at the time on a one-stop race, and track position is quite important, and we were allowed to race by the team.

"It's always a privilege to race with Fernando so [it] makes me smile. We were very close all weekend. In qualifying, there was less than one-tenth separating us, so it's going to be close all year.

"Let's see how it will go. But we race fair and as the team decided for us to race, so there is no drama.

"I think [Fernando] didn't lose any speed since he was fighting with Lewis [Hamilton] back in 2007. He's like a good wine!"

			© Michael Potts / RacingNews365
	© Michael Potts / RacingNews365

Alonso: Teammates need "extra margin"

With the two Alpines having also run closely together in the Bahrain Grand Prix, Alonso noted the need for teammates to give each other more room than other rivals on track.

"Of course, you need to give extra margin but everything was fine," said Alonso.

"We battled in Bahrain already in the first stint, even though we had a different strategy there.

"Here we had the same strategy, but for whatever reason my car felt faster this weekend in qualifying and the race so I could overtake and pull away a little bit.

"The main threat was Bottas. It was not easy to keep him behind."

Ocon: It's like the go-kart days

Ocon also explained that a combination of the new generation of F1 cars and the three DRS zones at Jeddah had made for a different approach to wheel-to-wheel racing and overtaking.

"Before, as soon as you had the chance, you had to go for it, because we might only have one chance," the French driver explained.

"Now you have two or three times in the lap to overtake, so you need to time it right.

"You need to make the gap at the right time, and you know that if you don't make the gap to the car behind, they are going to have DRS and they are going to get you back.

"It's a different philosophy to racing, [and] more like go-kart days."

Also interesting:

Video: Alpine turn pink with their new F1 car!

Check out Alpine's new F1 challenger, the A522, which was presented to the world during a special launch ceremony.

F1 2022 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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