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Ocon puts himself to shame with 'only Hamilton did better' statement

Ocon puts himself to shame with 'only Hamilton did better' statement

27 September - 12:35 Last update: 13:03
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GPblog.com

Esteban Ocon has gotten too big headed as of late. The Alpine driver is currently one place higher in the world championship than his teammate Fernando Alonso. This two-time world champion has hardly allowed himself to be surprised over a full season in his Formula 1 career. Lewis Hamilton is perhaps the only driver who has managed it (in 2007) and Ocon therefore draws a very peculiar and also absurd comparison.

"If I look at Fernando's career, only Lewis has finished on a par. All the others have not done better than me," Ocon expressed after the Italian Grand Prix. The Frenchman feels he has done a good job, which is why he finds it "indeed crazy" that the outside world often seems to have a different opinion when it comes to judging his performance. He also little understands why people sometimes forget certain achievements of his.

Well Esteban, read along, because let me explain to you in minute detail why that is not at all to be called crazy. After all, your achievements in Formula 1 are not exactly something that makes the mouths of many a Formula 1 fan fall open. Quite simply, you have only finished above your teammate in the World Championship once. When and against whom? In 2016 against Rio Haryanto, with, well, zero points.

Ocon beaten time after time

Ocon was then given a chance as a Mercedes protégé at Force India/Racing Point. He competed against Sergio Perez for two seasons and twice finished behind the Mexican in the battle for the world championship. The same Perez, of course, is now driving at Red Bull Racing, but there he is in turn being downgraded by Max Verstappen. Besides: if you claim to be able to compete with the absolute top in the premier class of motorsport, you must be able to beat a Perez. Even drivers like Charles Leclerc, George Russell and Lando Norris would beat Perez with equivalent material over an entire year.

Anyway, we turn a blind eye to Ocon's two years at Force India/Racing Point. After all, he had only half a year on it at Manor at the time, while Perez had many more years of experience. Either way, it ensured that Ocon had to sit on the sidelines for a year, as there was no place for him in 2019.

The Alpine era

At Renault/Alpine, however, things did not go much better. As a Mercedes talent, he was expected to make things incredibly difficult for Daniel Ricciardo. At least, that was the hope of the French racing stable itself. However, that did not happen. Ocon was 15-2 down in the qualifying duel and he picked up almost half the points of his teammate (119 vs 62). Still, painful.

In 2021, he got Alonso as his teammate and although the qualifying duel ended in a draw, he had to beat his teammate again in the World Championship, a recurring thing with the 26-year-old driver. As mentioned, with six Grands Prix to go, he is now seven points ahead of Alonso. Until his DNF at Monza, the Spaniard scored as many as ten GP weekends in a row. You better watch out Esteban!

The situation is perhaps somewhat similar to what is happening at Mercedes (and at the same time, not at all). George Russell is on track to beat record champion Lewis Hamilton in 2022 and looking purely at the standings, things are looking good for Ocon. A lead over a two-time world champion after 16 races is something not everyone can say. The big difference? Russell is driving under his own power ahead of a seven-time world champion, where Ocon has been mostly lucky. Under his own power, Ocon would now have been 20 points or so behind Alonso.

What are you playing at, Ocon

Ocon's statement makes it seem like he is severely underrated. However, the reason why there is never that much attention paid to him is because his performances have simply not been that impressive in recent months or years. Twice so far, Ocon has been the centre of attention: in the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix and the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix.

In the former race, he hit Max Verstappen's Red Bull. Ocon wanted to pull away from a lap deficit on newer tyres, but hit the race leader in the process. A very clumsy action and not really good for the Frenchman's image either. Just under three years later, Ocon won his first GP. Under his own steam? A little, but mostly thanks to great work by teammate Alonso. Indeed, the 41-year-old driver kept the up-and-coming Hamilton behind for laps, eventually falling 2.7 seconds short of Ocon on the line.

From the past to the future, as Ocon will really have to start beating his teammate at some point. After all, your first point of reference is always your teammate. In any case, one thing is certain and that is that he will have a new teammate. Alonso is leaving for Aston Martin, after all.

Gasly vs Ocon

Gasly is the likely candidate to take a seat alongside Ocon at Alpine in 2023. The latter has the advantage of already being involved all year in the development of next year's car. Indeed, Alonso has not been involved since the summer break and so the new Alpine car will be developed entirely on Ocon's feel. Gasly has still not been presented and thus has no influence on next year's car.

Ocon will face a tough task against Gasly because, we repeat, he has not beaten that many team-mates over the years in the king class of motorsport. Surely you can expect him to finish ahead of Gasly in the first five races of 2023. The driver who came over from AlphaTauri is completely new and will have to get used to it. If he drives around Ocon straight away, it will be extremely painful for Ocon.

Moreover, it will be interesting to see how the relationship between Ocon and Gasly will develop. The two drivers could not get along at all before although Ocon says there is now respect. Ocon will know there is some pressure on his shoulders in 2023. He is not the easiest guy on the grid to work with, not necessarily a team player and in the past we have seen often enough that a frustrated Ocon is not a fast Ocon.

And to conclude! After the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Ocon will 'just' be behind Alonso again in the final results of the 2022 world championship. Mark my words.

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