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Esteban Ocon

Ocon dismisses Gasly's Japan protests as "irrelevant"

Pierre Gasly was unhappy at being forced to let Esteban Ocon back through late in the Japanese GP - but should have expected it, according to Ocon.

Ocon Japan
To news overview © XPBimages

Esteban Ocon says Pierre Gasly's claims that he was faster in the Japanese Grand Prix and so should not have been forced to let the former back through as "irrelevant."

After Ocon pitted early to repair damage at Suzuka, he effectively undercut Gasly who was later waved through without any problems by Ocon in order to set after eighth-placed Fernando Alonso.

As is the norm when a team switches its drivers around if one driver, in this case Gasly, can't get past the car ahead, he will drop back and allow his team-mate, in this case Ocon, back through.

Gasly was asked to this on the final lap of the race, but was audibly and visibly frustrated at having to let Ocon through for ninth while he took 10th.

The Frenchman was furious over the radio, but Ocon dismissed those protests, simply saying it is a long-held convention.

"I've been with the team for four years now, and the rule has always been that, I had it with Fernando [Alonso], that if one driver swaps position, so in this instance, I gave the position to Pierre, I need to get the position in front to keep the position, otherwise, you give the place back to your team-mate," Ocon told media including RacingNews365.

"That's always what we've done, and if I am on the other side, I would obviously do the same, but I prefer the fight to be on-track. I am more of an old-school guy and would never ask for the position to be switched.

"But I understand the team's point of view, which was trying to get more places, to get Fernando and get more points, but unfortunately we didn't get that.

"I think we maximised the potential because there wasn't much more on the table."

Gasly felt he was the quicker of the two drivers, but Ocon dismissed that as a reason the former should have stayed ahead.

"It's not really relevant, because you need to fight for your place on track and until we can be as fast as we want, if you don't make the move, you never know who is going to be prompted [to be asked to move aside].

"Before that, I was in front, and so obviously we will discuss that as a team to see what we could have done better, but if you look at Brazil in 2021 with Fernando, Sochi with Daniel [Ricciardo] it was the same.

"I gave the position to Daniel and to Fernando. It has always been a team order that I've known and I wasn't surprised."

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F1 2023 Japanese Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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