Karun Chandhok analyzes the clashes between Alpine riders, Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon during the Sao Paulo GP Sprint.
Fernando Alonso has hinted he is looking forward to his partnership with Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon being “finally” over after the duo ruined each other with a collision during the Sprint Grand Prix of Sao Paulo.
Armed with a car that had shown good pace throughout the weekend and in strong starting positions of sixth (Ocon) and seventh (Alonso), Alpine looked well placed to deliver another blow against McLaren in the battle. for fourth place in the constructors’ championship.
However, the pair made contact twice on the first lap, and both cars suffered damage that would see Alonso finish 15th and Ocon 18th, with no points and poor starting positions for Sunday’s full race.
“(It’s) less than ideal when you hit the first lap of the sprint race because it’s too short to come back,” Alonso said.
“On the positive side the pace was very good today, close to the leaders actually. P15 we start tomorrow and if we have that pace. We can score points tomorrow.”
Esteban Ocon says it’s unfortunate for the team that there was a clash between the Alpine riders, while Fernando Alonso says “it’s one more race” as teammates.
Ocon forced Alonso off the track as the Spaniard attempted an overtake around the outside of Turn 4 on the first lap which caused him to lose control as he crossed the pavement and suffered a snap which led to the pair making minor contact.
It was a bit of a reprieve, but the pair didn’t learn their lesson. In the closing stages of the first lap, Alonso once again tried to initiate a pass at the start of the straight, but an apparent confusion saw them reconnect, with the damage this time greater, and eventually get them finished outside. dots.
The Alpine duo were called to see the marshals after the race, with Alonso ultimately held responsible for the second collision as he received a five-second penalty which dropped him to 18th and relieved Ocon at the 17th place.
Discover the key moments of the Sao Paulo Sprint Grand Prix.
Speaking ahead of the move, Alonso, who is leaving Alpine to join Aston Martin at the end of the season, slammed his team-mate, referring to incidents earlier in the season.
When asked if he had spoken to Ocon, Alonso replied: “No, not really.”
“I don’t need it. It’s one more race and then it’s over.
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“It was very close to the wall in Jeddah, close to the wall in Budapest, today in turn 4, now here.
“It’s like that. Sometimes it’s very competitive within the team.”
Ocon: Alonso will be calm for the race
Ocon, also speaking ahead of the stewards’ decision, played down the incidents, insisting Alonso would have calmed down in time for Sunday’s race had the Spaniard not already done so.
“It’s really unfortunate for the team what happened,” Ocon said. “We were in such a good position and now we’re at the back with a lot of work to do tomorrow.
A spectacular first lap sees Kevin Magnussen retain the Sprint race lead at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
“So it’s going to be important to work together tomorrow to get back on the pitch.
“It’s unfortunate what happened on the first lap. I was trying to attack the McLaren, I took my line in turn 4 and Fernando came out of nowhere on the outside and we touched .
“From there, my race was pretty much over.
“I’m pretty calm. If he’s not, he will be by tomorrow.”
Alpine condemns ‘unacceptable’ online abuse
Later on Saturday evening, Alpine issued a statement condemning the online reaction to the incidents between their drivers.
“No matter what happens on the track, there is absolutely no excuse for hateful comments, abuse or toxicity to be directed at our riders, team members, fans or even anyone online” , the statement said.
“Of all the comments we received on our social media channels during and after today’s Sprint qualifying, we received 882 toxic comments, 162 of which were seriously toxic. This is completely unacceptable.
“What we have seen today is unfortunately not an isolated incident. We continue to see hate and discrimination online, and as a team we will not tolerate this.
“We will take action against individuals or groups who produce or distribute social media posts that contain or encourage online abuse of our drivers, crew members and fans.”
Vettel understands after Stroll’s ‘cheeky’ maneuver
Alonso and Ocon weren’t the only team-mates to go head-to-head in Saturday’s Sprint, with Aston Martin duo Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll also getting in the way.
Vettel, who looked to be the quickest of the Aston Martins, was challenging Stroll for 11th on lap nine when the Canadian forced him onto the grass in the race at Turn 4.
Vettel, who is retiring from F1 at the end of the season, was lucky enough to maintain control of his car and get back on track, which he did before overtaking Stroll shortly afterwards.
Lance Stroll forces his Aston Martin teammate Sebastian Vettel onto the grass during the Sao Paulo Grand Prix Sprint race.
“It was mean to drive there from Lance Stroll, it was too much, way too much,” Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle said in a comment at the time.
The stewards agreed, handing Stroll a 10-second time penalty, which would relegate him from 12th to 17th in the final standings, and giving him three penalty points on his license for dangerous driving.
Although the stewards clearly ruled in his favour, Vettel, who eventually finished a place outside the points in ninth, offered a measured assessment of the incident.
“It’s obviously a split second,” he said. “I went inside and the gap closed and it was really tight and I got off the track which was hard to recover from, I was kind of stuck sitting on the board but luckily I returned.
“After that we were able to work together and I was able to use the pace I had in the car.
Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz looks back on a thrilling sprint at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
“It’s a fine line. You’re fighting for your place. Obviously it’s important to defend, on the other hand, it’s always about assessing if you’re losing more than you’re winning (in you casement).
“Also, we obviously try to work together, so I think today, in the end, we could have done better, both of us, to try to get better positioning for the team.”
The three penalty points awarded to Stroll bring his current tally to eight, just four shy of the 12-point limit that would see him face a one-race ban.
Speaking ahead of the penalty points decision, the Canadian offered only a limited response when asked about the incident.
“I have to see it again, I haven’t really seen the video,” he said. “So I probably didn’t leave enough space.”