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Where have Alonso and Ocon clashed in 2022?

The team is fighting with McLaren over P4 in the Constructors' Championship, but inter-team rivalry is ultimately going to make them finish behind.

Alpine's Sprint race was completely compromised by their duelling drivers, with Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon coming to blows twice on the opening lap. With Ocon looking to maintain P6 ahead of Alonso at the start of the Sprint, he gave his teammate minimal space on the exit of Turn 4, causing Alonso to demonstrate his car control on the exit of the corner. They followed that incident up by colliding on the start/finish straight just moments later. Alonso picked up front wing damage, which forced him to pit and drop to the back, while Ocon also picked up performance-limiting damage, which dropped him way outside of the points. After their strong qualifying session, they threw away a shot at taking bonus Sprint points, instead leaving Lando Norris to finish P7 and pick up two points for rivals McLaren. Given that the team has already stated it prioritised performance over reliability , they need to take their chances on track as they battle with McLaren over P4 in the Constructors' Championship. Throughout the season the pair have clashed on track, which has threatened to cost them vital points to McLaren.

Saudi Arabia: Ocon lays down a marker

It shouldn't really come as a surprise that the two team-mates have history so far this season, their first 2022 encounter being at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. In the opening laps of the race the pair found themselves in a dispute over P6, with Ocon having to defend from Alonso. As the pair went down the start/finish straight, Ocon made a late defence move and nearly shoved Alonso into the wall. The battle raged on for a number of laps before the first pits stops, arguably costing them an outside chance at challenging Mercedes' George Russell for P5. Alonso eventually retired from the race with reliability problems, while Ocon salvaged P6 ahead of Norris.

Hungary: No love lost after Alonso announces departure

On the morning of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Alonso announced internally that he would depart the team at the end of 2022, which could point to why Ocon didn't make his life easy during the race. The Frenchman again nearly put his teammate into the wall down the start/finish straight, in a move that was reminiscent of the famous incident between Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello at the same circuit in 2010. “Never in my life have I seen a defence like Esteban’s today,” Alonso said over the team radio. “Never." Alonso later got past Ocon and finished the race in P8 on the unfavoured one-stop strategy, a lap down on eventual winner Max Verstappen.

Brazil: Both drivers finally clash

Having come close to hitting each other on track throughout the season, Brazil was the tipping point. The pair were close coming out of Juncao when Ocon made a defensive move to the inside, forcing Alonso to take the outside down the start/finish straight. As they reached the pit entry the front wing of Alonso collided with the rear of Ocon's car, causing significant damage to the Spaniard's car. Post-race Alonso was adamant that the blame lay with Ocon, referencing the above examples as moments things "got competitive" within the team. While Ocon's car caught fire in the pit lane, likely as a result of the contact, the stewards sided with the Frenchman and handed Alonso a post-race time penalty and two penalty points.

Could the clashes be crucial in their Constructors' battle with McLaren?

With the gap between Alpine and McLaren now five points, every finish counts with two races left. A possible 50 points still up for grabs, realistically Alpine will be looking at finishing 'best of the rest' around the P6/P7 mark and score a maximum of 28 points if they finish 'one-two' in those positions. With their clash in the Brazil Sprint giving them lowly grid positions for the Grand Prix, Alpine will need to make big gains in Sunday's race but, after their latest clash, Alonso might already have mentally checked out. "It's one more race and then it's over finally," Alonso told Sky Sports , referencing the fact that he will test with Aston Martin at the post-season Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi. Will he be willing to work on track with Ocon in the remaining races? It's looking like an increasingly strained relationship between the pair and the team.

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