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Why a points finisher was left feeling like a winner in Austria

Alpine driver Esteban Ocon finished as the 'best of the rest' behind Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Esteban Ocon has compared his top five finish in Austria to a victory after he helped Alpine draw level with McLaren in the championship standings. Ocon displayed strong pace throughout the weekend, finishing as the 'best of the rest' behind Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes in qualifying, the Sprint and the Grand Prix. Having retained his sixth-place grid slot in the Sprint, the Frenchman went one step further in the main event by crossing the line in fifth position – capitalising on Carlos Sainz's late retirement. The result moved Ocon up to eighth in the Drivers' standings, while Alpine are now level on Constructors' points with McLaren in the race for fourth.

Ocon hails "perfect" Austrian GP weekend

Speaking to media including RacingNews365.com after the race, Ocon stated that his weekend could not have gone any better. "It was a perfect weekend in terms of performance and how we've optimised the result," he commented. "It's not a win, but it feels like a win, because there was nothing better that we could have done from qualifying, to the Sprint to now. "There was some hope that I could have kept George [Russell] behind, but after the Virtual Safety Car restart he was just too fast, so there was no possibility to keep him under control and behind. "[But] 13 points [for the weekend], and we obviously are tied with McLaren now in the Constructors' Championship."

Upgrades helping Alpine's championship push

Ocon also praised Alpine's development efforts, noting a significant step forward with the package the team introduced at the British Grand Prix. "It's very positive," Ocon declared, as he assessed the upgrades Alpine have being bringing to their cars in recent races. "I'm very happy to see that the one that we brought to Silverstone made quite a difference – we can really see it now. I hope the next ones are going to be as big. "We still have work to do to be able to perform against the Mercedes, because they are still too fast, so if the team can bring more of this stuff, we will take it! "I go to France with confidence and the team goes there with good confidence, and I have no doubt we will perform also there."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Qualifying