Alpine's Alan Permane has praised Fernando Alonso after the Spaniard delayed Lewis Hamilton's progress on fresh tyres for ten laps towards the end of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
With Hamilton pitting for fresh tyres with just over twenty laps remaining, the Mercedes driver's charge was halted when he came up behind Alonso. Making his Alpine as wide as possible, Alonso held off Hamilton's advances lap after lap until he made an error that allowed the Mercedes through with five laps to go. However, it had been long enough to ensure Hamilton couldn't catch up to the leading duo and threaten Esteban Ocon's lead.
"Incredible, absolutely incredible. Honestly, he's happy for us, he's happy for Esteban, but I know he's frustrated. Because he wants to, you know, he wants to win," Permane told media, including RacingNews365, after the race.
"Undoubtedly crucial and definitely crucial. It was 11 laps I believe. If he'd got past on the first lap like he got past Carlos on the first time pass, I'm sure Lewis would have been there.
"I think what we would have done is then just dropped back a bit, gave Seb the DRS and use that to protect a little bit. But I don't know if we would have held him off.
"Maybe. Maybe. Don't forget Esteban was one of the last people to pit so had very fresh tyres. He was in control in that last stint but, who knows?"
With Team Enstone returning to the top step of the podium for the first time in eight years, Permane, a veteran of the team, said the moment Ocon crossed the line to win was a very special one.
"It's incredible. They're always special," he said.
"They're always very, very special. It's been a long time since we won a race. I think someone said to me it was Melbourne 2013. I think I was on the podium then actually! That was very nice as well. But this is special, of course, first year of Alpine and just coming together for them with plenty of new people here and new motivation and that sort of thing."