A battle to watch at Imola: Pierre Gasly vs Esteban Ocon

14-04-2021 10:00 | Updated: 14-04-2021 10:29
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A battle to watch at Imola: Pierre Gasly vs Esteban Ocon

Although many of you are used to reading our teammate battles, today we’re highlighting a key battle to keep an eye out for during this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Pierre Gasly vs Esteban Ocon.

The battle of the French drivers will be a head-turner come Imola on Sunday, following their two lacklustre performances in the season-opener in Bahrain.

Underwhelming in Bahrain

A superb qualifying performance was instantly looked over on Sunday as Gasly’s AlphaTauri collided with Daniel Ricciardo, resulting in the Frenchman losing his front wing and falling to the back of the pack. He finished in 17th with a DNF, not the result that people expected following his fast Saturday.

Ocon and Alpine on the other hand struggled all weekend. The 24-year-old was unable to get out of Q1, qualifying in 16th, whereas his teammate and two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso was able to put the Alpine in Q3.

He only finished three places off of points in P13, by Ocon’s drive in the season-opener was far from exciting to watch and nowhere near the standards, he will be aiming for this season.

AlphaTauri and Gasly’s qualifying performance was one of the main talking points of the weekend, despite the unlucky collision the next day, and it’s understandable why. A surprisingly strong Saturday which put the 25-year-old in the top five, ahead of both McLaren drivers, Ricciardo and Lando Norris, and Sergio Perez, in his new Red Bull.

AlphaTauri have the upper hand in Imola

When looking at who will potentially perform better in Imola on Sunday, AlphaTauri currently hold the upper hand to many, but you can’t rule Alpine out of it just yet.

Last year, both Gasly and Ocon were unable to finish the race. Gasly had a coolant leak which forced him to retire just eight laps into the race and Ocon’s clutch failure ended his race just before the halfway point.

However this year, after testing and the first GP of the season, it seems as if AlphaTauri have closed the gap to the midfield and are now in the fight for third in the Constructors’ Championship with McLaren and Ferrari.

The race pace of Gasly seems to be stronger than Ocon’s as well. A tenth place finish in the Driver’s Championship with 75 points and a race win last season proves Gasly’s ability to perform but is emphasised more this year with AlphaTauri’s car already looking faster and competitive.

Gasly’s fastest lap on Sunday of 1:34.090 was 1.160 seconds faster than his compatriot in the Alpine and during qualifying his fifth-placed lap was 1.915 seconds faster than Ocon’s 16th placed Saturday.

Alpine and Ocon don’t seem to have the out-and-out pace to match Gasly following the lap times in qualifying and during the race, but at a high-speed sheltered track like Imola, it will be interesting to see how the French team's car compares to its midfield rivals.

Who do you think will win the battle of the Frenchmen? Let us know in the comments!

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Who will come out on top at Imola?

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
73%
Esteban Ocon, Alpine
27%
(22 votes)

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