Alpine pitwall realised Ocon would win with three laps to go

Alpine Formula 1 chief Marcin Budkowski says the team realised Esteban Ocon was set to win in Hungary with three laps to go after Lewis Hamilton’s charge was stalled.

Listen to this article

Ocon scored a shock victory for Alpine at the Hungaroring on Sunday after capitalising on two Turn 1 crashes and a strategy miscue by Mercedes to move into the lead.

Ocon controlled proceedings at the front, leading all 65 laps after he moved into P1, but looked set to come under late pressure from Mercedes driver Hamilton.

Hamilton was lapping almost four seconds quicker than Ocon after making a third pit stop for a fresh set of medium tyres, gaining rapidly on the leading four drivers.

But fierce defence from Ocon’s Alpine teammate, Fernando Alonso, delayed Hamilton’s charge for 10 laps and meant he fell 2.8 seconds short at the chequered flag, helping the team score its first win under any guise since 2013.

Alpine executive director Budkowski revealed the team felt hopeful of a big result after seeing Ocon rise to second place before the red flag, but only became confident Ocon would not be caught by Hamilton in the dying stages.

“You know if you’re second at Budapest, it gives you a shot at the podium for sure, and probably a victory, because Lewis would have to stop,” Budkowski said during the latest episode of This Week with Will Buxton on Motorsport TV.

“But then there’s cars behind, like Lewis, like Max [Verstappen], much quicker cars, fantastic drivers. We didn’t know about Max’s damage, or we didn’t realise the extent of the damage on the front of his car.

“All of the strategy tools were showing us that Lewis would come past before the end of the race and he would win the race. But the strategy tools are maths, they’re statistics. They assume that Lewis is going to pass slower cars, and he did.

“But then he came across Fernando! And that was a bit of a mission. Every lap he was spending behind Fernando was delaying by one lap the moment that Lewis was supposed to catch and pass Esteban.

“Three laps before the end, the line [in the data] kind of stopped crossing, and we thought, ‘wow, we’re going to win this!’ And it was amazing.

“But when I think about it, the emotions are still there, because until then, we couldn’t believe it, and at that stage, we thought he’s not going to make it if we’re going to win this race.”

Read Also:

While Alonso has received a significant amount of praise for his role in the victory, Budkowski made clear that it should not take anything away Ocon’s success, saying the team was “full of admiration” for the Frenchman.

“He didn’t put a foot wrong, he did everything right,” Budkowski said.

“There were a few moments after the pit stop and passing some other cars where we felt that he was a bit vulnerable, and he could have lost that position. But otherwise, the rest of the time, he was just managing, managing his pace.

“We asked him to save fuel for most of the race. He had to manage his fuel while defending against Sebastian [Vettel], and he did that absolutely perfectly.

“Statistically, we thought Lewis would pass Fernando and then pass Seb, and then Esteban. But who knows, maybe Esteban would have kept Lewis behind as well? Maybe he wouldn’t have needed Fernando?

“He kept Seb, albeit in a slightly slower car, behind for the whole race. Maybe he would have kept Lewis behind as well and won it.

“He didn’t put a foot wrong, he did a great qualifying, he did a great race. He kept his head, managed everything. He did a stunning job, and he absolutely deserves that win.”

shares
comments
Masi insists Spa is safe for F1 following high-speed GT3 crash
Previous article

Masi insists Spa is safe for F1 following high-speed GT3 crash

Next article

Was Hamilton's Hungary solo start a good or bad look for F1?

Was Hamilton's Hungary solo start a good or bad look for F1?
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Prime

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022