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Exclusive: The one time Ocon was disappointed with Alonso at Alpine

In an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com, Alpine's Esteban Ocon discusses the dynamics between him and Fernando Alonso in 2022 and looks ahead to pairing with Pierre Gasly.

From the surface it has been a tough love relationship between the two Alpine Formula 1 drivers in 2022. The partnership seemed to be working after Esteban Ocon took his first F1 victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix last year, owing to the defensive driving of Fernando Alonso to hold off a late-charging Lewis Hamilton. But since then a rift has taken place throughout the season , which almost cost the team a shot at taking P4 in the Constructors' Championship against McLaren. But reflecting on the partnership in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com , Ocon still thinks it has been a successful two years. "If I reflect on these last two years, it's been great," he said. "I have a lot of respect for Fernando and for what he's done in F1, he's one of the legends of the sport, but I was pretty disappointed with what he said in Brazil." Brazil was where the inter-team rivalry came to its head, when Alonso blasted Ocon for the collision that cost them a shot at points in the Sprint race . The team was lucky when both McLaren's eventually retired from the Grand Prix. For his part, Ocon believes it's been a good effort from both drivers throughout the season: "I think we've worked well together and that's that's the most important. For the team, we've done some really good races and have helped them to consolidate that fourth place."

I was pretty disappointed with what he said in Brazil.

Ocon on Alonso after Brazil clash

Ocon: Alonso is always 'two pit stops ahead' of who he is racing

The clash of ego's should come as no surprise to people in the F1 paddock, considering Ocon is entering his prime years as a driver and Alonso is still at the top of his game having achieved the podiums, wins, and championships. That level of experience is something Ocon has relished learning from Alonso, particularly the Spaniard's race management skills that fans often get glimpses of during the races over team radio. "I'm not at his level of experience, but like any other drivers you learn, especially with a new teammate because they have different ways of working. It's been interesting to work with a world champion and see what he was doing," said Ocon. "His awareness in general of everything, of where he is in the race after a three-stop or two-stop, he knows who he is racing and is always two pit stops ahead. "My first three-stop race was in Bahrain this year and I still have low experience on two-stops, but I've done a lot of one-stop races. Being aware and understanding these races is definitely something I've looked at." But given his now six-year experience in F1 that spans across multiple car generations, Ocon believes there is still some things Alonso can takeaway from the experience. He explained: "I hope that he learned from me as well, because if I only learn from him that means I would've got beaten by far, which is not the case. It's been nice to work against somebody that puts the bar so high." The Frenchman believes his strongest trait has been building up his confidence throughout the weekend, which is where his qualifying performances have been consistent. At the end of the season the pair were closely matched, with Alonso out-qualifying Ocon by 12 - 10. "Building up the pace and the confidence throughout the weekend," he explains. "I feel like once I go through the rounds, you know Q1, Q2, and I'm in Q3, I feel very confident. "So it's always a risk and reward thing: you can take the risk early on, but as you are not so well trained, you can miss it and then just not go through [to Q3]. But once you're in Q3 it's all about letting it [pressure] go. Once I'm there, I feel like I'm quite strong."

Looking forward to challenge with Gasly

It's no secret that Ocon has a previous feud with future teammate Pierre Gasly, which stems all the way back to their days in go-karting. Gasly believes that it is all water under the bridge , with his compatriot agreeing that they have both matured and does not feel worried about the prospect of another rivalry taking over on track. "I'm not worried about next year," he explains. "It's been a few years since since we last worked together, I think last time was GP2 in 2014 when we did some testing together." "We were young back then and now we're racing for a manufacturer team together. I think there is some great history to write for the future, and I hope we can do it together."

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